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Full text of "The metaphysics of ethics. Translated with an introd. and appendix by J.W. Semple"

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J. W. SEMPLE, Advocate. 





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M.DCCC.XXXVI. '\ ^ y"^ , 

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Printed by Thomas Allah & Company, 

265 High Street. 



List of Kant's Works, 


Explanation of Terms, 


L On the Forms of Phenomena, 

II. On the System of the Categories, 

III. On the Ideas of Reason, 


IV. On the Moral Law and Summum Bonum, 

V. On the Falsehood of every other System, 










Chapter I. Transit from the Common Notions of Mora- 
lity to the Philosophical, ... 1 

Chapter II. Transit from Common Moral Philosophy to 

the Metaphysic of Ethics, . . 18 

Autonomy of Will is the Supreme Principle of Moralit y^ 59 

Chapter III. Transit from the metaphysic of Ethics to 

an Inquiry into the a priori Operations of the Will, 61 
The Idea Freedom explains that of Autonomy, . ib. 


^..JvKFreedom must be postulated as the Property of the Will 

of every Intelligent whatsoever, . .63 

Of the Interest attaching to the Idea of Morality, . 64 
How is a Categorical Imperative possible ? . . 70^ 

Of the extremest Verge of all Practical Philosophy, . 73 


Chapter IV. Analytic of the Principles of Practical 

Reason, . . . . 85 

§ I. Exposition of the notions — Principle, Rule, Max- 
im, Law, . . . . ib. 
§ 2. Position I. Every material principle whatsoever is 

a /)o*^mon, and so can beget NO practical LAW, 88 
§ 3. Position 2. All material practical principles, how 
different soever, agree in this, that they belong to 
ONE AND THE SAME SYSTEM, whether distinguish- 
ed or disguised by the names of Epicureanism, 
EuDAiMONisM, Benthamry or Utilitarianism, 
and rest on self-love, ... 89 

iote I. On the distinction betwixt the higher and low- 
er powers of Will, ... 90 
Note 2. On the problem — Happiness, . . (94 ^ 
§ 4. Position 3. Under what condition maxims and laws 

stand, ..... 97 

Note. Contains an example illustrative,. . ib. 

— ^5§ 5. The Will's Freedom demonstrated, . 99 

•»>v§ 6. On the Hypothesis that a Will is Free to assign a 

Formula for the law regulating its causality, 100 

§ 7. The required Formula found, . . 102 

§ 8. Wherein the Ethical Nature of Man consists, 105 

Notes 1 and 2. Of Autonomy and Heteronomy, 106, 108 

Tabular View of every possible false System of 

Ethic, 113 



Chapter V. On the a priori Spring of the Will, 116 

-t^ Chapter VI. Farther explanation of the Will's Causal 

Freedonn, • • • ' 








Of the Duties owed by Man to himself.— Introduction, 253-290 
Apotome I. Of the Duties of Strict and Determinate 
Obligation, • • • * 

Chapter I. Of the Vices opposed to the Duty owed 

by Man to himself as an AnimcU, . »h* 

(A.) Self-Murder. (B.) Self-Defilement. 
(C.) "Seif^bstupefaction. 
Chapter II. Of the Vices opposed to the Duty 
owed by Man to himself as a Moral Being 

. , 266 

smgly, ...•*"" 

(A.) Lying. (B.) Avarice. (C.) False 
Chapter III. Of Conscience : and the Duty owed 

by Man to himself as constituted his own Judge, 277 
Of the first Commandment of Con- 
science — Self-Examination, 281 
Episode. Of an Amphiboly of certain Reflex 

Moral Notions, . • • ~®^ 

Apotome II. Of the Duties of Lax and Indeterminate^ 

Obligation, .... 286 

I. Of Physical Perfection, . • »b. 

II. Of Moral Perfection, . • 288 




Of the Duties owed to Others. 
)Av Apotome I. Of the Duty owed to others considered 
^^ simply as Men, .... 291 

Chapter I. Of the Offices of Charity, - ib. 

(A.) Beneficence. (B.) Gratitude. (C.) Sym- 
pathy, . . . 297 
Chapter II. Of the Vices contrary to Charity. 

(A.) Envy. (B.) Ingratitude. (C.) Malice, 304 

Apotome II. Of the Duty of Reverence, , . 312 

(A.) Pride. (B.) Detraction. (C.) Sneering, ib. 


Of the Union of Love with Reverence in Friendship, 317 

Appendix : On the Social Virtues, . . 322 


Apotome I. Ethical Didactics, . . . 327 

Apotome II. The Ascetic Exercise of Ethics, . ib. 

Conclusion of the Metapkysic of Ethics, . 340 

On Rationalism and Supra- Rationalism, . . 349 


I. Critik der reinen Vernunft ; that is, Inquiry into the 
Reach and Extent of the a priori Operations of the Human 
Understanding ; first published at Riga in 1781j^ 

II. In 1783, Kant published a defence of the Critik, entitled 
Metaphysical Prolegomena. At the same time the first part of 
the Ethics appeared, under the title of Grundlegung zur Me- 
taphysik der Sitten ; i. e. Groundwork of the Metaphysic of 
Ethics. Both works have been translated into English : the 
first by Mr Richardson in 1819 ; the second by an anonymous 
writer, who published two miscellaneous volumes in 1799, under 
the title of Kant's Essays. The work of Mr Richardson is to 
be had at any bookseller's. The Essays are apparently ren- 
dered by a foreigner, and printed abroad, although graced with 
a London title-page. The only copy of this Miscellany I have 
ever been able to procure, is the copy in the Advocates' Library. 
No translation of any other part of Kant's Philosophy has hither- 
to been attempted in this country. 

III. In 1786, The Metaphysic of Physics. Tliis expounds the 
metaphysical foundations of natural philosophy. 

IV. In 1788, Critik der Praktischen Vernunft; that is. Inquiry 
into the a priori Functions and Operations of the Will, or, as 
we might say, a Dissertation on the Active and Moral Powers of 
Man. This is the superstructure "reared upon'Hie groundwork. 
It treats of the Causality and Spring of the Will, and of the Sum- 
mum Bonum. Three chapters of this work will be found in the 
following sheets, under the title of Inquiry into the a priori Ope- 
rations of the Will. 

V. Critik der Urtheilskraft, at Berlin, in 1790 : which is a Dis- 
sertation on the Emotions of Beauty and Sublimity, and on the 
Adaptation of the Material Universe to itself, and to the Logical 
Functions of the Human Intellect. 


VI. In 1796-97, there appeared the Metaphysic of Ethics — a 
work which bears evident traces of the great age of the author. 
He died seven years afterwards, at the advanced age of eighty. 
In translating this book I have derived great assistance from the 
Latin translation of Konig^^ ^Z?^» ^^^ ^^°™ *^^ French version 
ofM. Tissot, 1833. 

These six works constitute all that in strict propriety of speech 
can be called Kant's St/stem of Philosophy, 

In intimate connection with this system, however, stand — 

VII. His Theory of Religion. Religion innerhalb der Gran- 
zen der reinen Vernunft, Konigsberg, 1793. 

VIII. Der Srreit der Facultiiten, Konigsberg, 1798. 

These two works contain the eerm of the Rationalism of 
Germany. ts*.-^ 


IX. Anthropologic, 1799. 

The extreme abstruseness and difficulty of Kant's specula- 
tions afforded ample room for the ingenuity of commentators, 
who with various success have alternately elucidated and dark- 
ened the text. Some comments are mere catch-pennies and 
bare-faced impositions on the public. Others may be consult- 
ed with great advantage. The best expositions are those of 
Beck, Kiesewetter, and Buhle.* To their labours I have been 
much indebted in preparing the Synopsis of the Critik prefixed 
to this version of the Ethic. I have taken from them, without 
scruple, whatever seemed needful for my purpose. 

* Beck, Einzig-moglicher Standpunkt zur Beurtheilung der Critiscben 
Philosophie, Riga, 17&6. 
Kiesewetter, Darstellung der wichtigsten Wahrheiten der Kritischen 

Philosophie, Berlin, r. y. 
Buhle, Entwuif der Transscendental Philosophie, Gottingen, 1798, re- 
produced in the eighth volume of his History of Philosophy, 1804. 







To REPRESENT— REPKESENTATioN is a general expression used 

to denote any state of mind whatsoever. 
A REPRESENTATION, combined with consciousness, is called 


Consciousness is the permanent representation I— myself. 

This I is just the intellect — the power of self-represen- 
tation is understanding. 

All PERCEPTIONS are either subjective or objective. 

Whatever holds or is valid only for ray own private indivi- 
dual subject, is subjective. 

Whatever is universally-valid is objective. 


or FEELING {Conf. Met. Eth. p. 172 in not.) 

An objective perception is called knowledge. 

A singular perception is called an i ntuition ( Anschau- 

An universal perception is called a thought, notion, or 
conception, sometimes idea. 

Knowledge is compounded of singulars and universals ; it 
is however called either intuitive or discursive, 
according as it mainly rises on the former, e. g. Geo- 
metry, or on the latter, e. g. Logic. 

Singulars are perceived by sense. 

Universals are perceived by the understanding. 

* For anschauen, to have a sikgul^r pebceftion. The Trans- 
lator begs leave to propose the word to envisage. 


The sensory (Sinnlichkeit) is our susceptibility of receiving 
into INTUITIONS. As soon as an impression is spread 
OUT and arranged in space and time, it is intuition. 
This arrangement is the work of fancy : our receptive 
part then divides itself into two branches — the senses, 
whether external or internal, and imagination. 

Understanding is the power of dealing with universals, and 
is divided into reason, judgment, and the under- 
standing strictly so called. 
To raise universals out of singulars, is the office of the 


To subsume a singular under its corresponding univer- 
sal, is the work of judgment. 

To SYLLOGIZE, i. c. to know by the intervention of an uni- 
versal or PRINCIPLE (the major), i. e. to conclude 
upon GROUNDS,* is the province of reason. 

But this distinction is merely Formal or Logical. All 
these operations are functions of one and the same 
intellect. There is no material difference; and, for 
the most part, it is optional whether we speak of intel- 
lect— ^I— consciousness REASON understand- 
ing — powers of THOUGHT, ot the cognitive fa- 
The difference, however, betwixt singulars and universals 
is not only formal, but material too. It may be 
otherwise expressed, by saying that we have the power 
of becoming aware of things, and of the rules of 
Perceiving or being aware of a thing, is an incomplex 
representation, i. e. is a singular, or intuition of 

" What is understood upon latt gKtunds, we are said to comfrehemd. 


The rule of a thing is its universal, i. e. is the notion of 
it framed by the understanding. Thus, from the 
intuition of singular trees, dogSi stars, 8fc. the under- 
standing ABSTRACTS a GENERAL RULE applicable tO 

all dogs, trees, stars, 8^. whatsoever. Thus the ab- 
stract notion of a DOG, or of a triangle, is nothing 
more than a rule I am aware of, directing me how to 
proceed in drawing a particular quadruped or figure 
infancy, or on paper. 

When a universal represents a genus, it is called a general 

Perceptions originated by the mind itself, are said to be a 
parte priori ; those not so,~a posteriori. 

Singulars a priori, are the intuitions — space and time, 

Universals a, priori are the twelve categories of the un- 
derstanding, the eight reflex-notions of the 
judgment, and the three ideas of reason.* 

The categories are, l.ofQUANTiTY or extension — unity, plu- 
rality, totality -^ 2. those of quality or inten- 
sity — reality, negation, limitation; 3. of sub- 
stance — substance, cause, re-action ; 4. of mo- 
dality — possibility, existence, necessity. 

The eight reflex notions of the judgment are, 1. identity and 


outward and inward ; 4. matter and form. 

• There are, therefore, in Kant's system, twknty-five a priori kk- 
PRESENTATioNS, or,includingconsciousness — the I — twenty-six. They 
are all produced by the cog it akt himself. Kvery other perception 
HE gets acquainted with by experience and observation. 

•\ From LOGIC, we know that every phoposition is determined all 
at[once in relation 'to four cardinal points of judoino, (Whate- 
ly's Logic, p. 67, 68. fifth eA), viz. 1. ocantitt, 2. auALiTV, 3. sub- 
stance, and 4. modality : and farther (Fries, SyUem der Logik, 1819, 
p. 133 et scq.\ that quantity respects the subject — quality, the 
predicate — substance, the copula — and modality, the certainty 
of the judgment. Each copula depends upon a particular function of 


From the conditioned, reason advances to the uncondition- 
ed.* The representing of a last ground, is possible 
only by an idea. An idea is, therefore, always the re- 
presentation of a MAXIMUM or SUMMUM GENUS.f ThE 

IDEAS are, the soul, the world, God. 

sYKTHEsis, the abstract general notion of which synthesis is what is 
called by Kant a category. Thus, in regard of substance, the co- 
PULA of a categorical proposition is the substantive, or it may be its 
AUXILIARY verbs — MAY, MUST, IS ; that of a hypothetic is the illative 
PARTICLES — IF, THEN ; that of a disjunctive, the disjunctive con- 
junctions — EITHER, OR: the general notions of which various copulce 
give the categories substance, causality, be-action. We shall con- 
fine ourselves to the copula of conditional judgments, which has an ilia- 
five force, the notion of which illative force is just the notion of the neces- 
sary nexus or synthesis cogitated in the category causality. Whately (p. 
108,) has these words : " A conditional proposition has in it an illative 
force, i. e. it contains two, and only two, categorical propositions, where- 
of one results from the other {or follows from the other). • • • That 
from which the other results is called the antecedent, that which results 
from it the consequent," &c. Now this notion of resulting, of following 
from an antecedent, is precisely that notion of necessary connection 
which Hume called in question, and which is understood by the word 
cause. And so. mutatis mutandis, of all the other categories or no- 
tions of intellectual synthesis. 

• What falls beyond time and space is said to be transcendent ; 
what not so, immanent. 

-f- The following quotation from Beck's Logik, p. 6, may serve to clear 
up the nature of this function of reason. " We divert our attention now 
from THINGS, and direct it solely to the understanding, and we be- 
come conscious of its laws when we carefully watch its operations. We 
find that we can become conscious of rules apart from any present per- 
ception of the THING itself. This is therefore the frst activity of the 
understanding. I. The understanding, in this part, displays itself as the 
power of notions. We find, secondly, II. That we can subsume a thing 
under such a cogitated rule, and that we are then conscious that it 
really and truly falls under this rule, or the reverse. Lastly, III. Where 
there are many such singular truths, we become convinced all at once 
and on a sudden, of the universality of the truth. Such a universal truth 
serves afterward to enable us to recognise (by syllogism) an indefinite va- 
riety of singular truths. There are therefore in all three functions of 


Every universal is a rule. If the notion be a priori, such 
RULE a priori, is what is called a law.* 

The terms relating to the practical or active powers are ex- 
plained in the Metaphysic of Ethics, p. 171, et seq. of 
this Translation. It may, however, be worth while to 
add, that although the will is practical reason it- 
self, yet in a wider sense the will is used, as in com- 
mon conversation, for the whole appetitive facul- 
ty. A remarkable instance of this is found at p. 36, 
where (line 2d) Kant gives a definition of will appli- 
cable to any kind of will whatever, even to the divine 
will, and in the rest of the paragraph uses the word 
WILL as it is taken in common parlance. 

Maxims often mean in English proverbial sayings ; but in 
the following pages the word stands for rules of 
CONDUCT deliberately adopted by an agent-intelli- 
gent {regulcB quae inter maximas liaberi debent). The 
rule is regarded as having subjective- validity only, 
it is therefore no practical law of deportment. 
Hence we saj' 

Maxim is the subjective principle of volition. 

Propensity {Hang) is the subjective ground of desire ; in- 
stinct is the physical feeling of a want. 

the understanding ; these give rise to notion, judgment, or particular 
knowledge, and universal or general knowledge : the notion is ascribed 
to the understanding in its most limited sense, particular knowledge to 
the judgment, and universal knowledge to reason." (^uhVe, Geschichte 
d. Philosophic, torn, viii.) " Reason, then, is that faculty by which the 
mind rises from any given judgment or conception to a still higher judg- 
ment or conception, and so on backwards till it arrive at that ultimate 
conception beyond which nothing farther can be cogitated. This process 
of generalization leads eventually to the notion of a Summum Genus, be- 
yond which reason cannot go. Such a Summum Genus is an idea, and the 
representation of a maximum; and in stopping at such perception, rea- 
son arrives at the unconditioned and absolute, as the ne plus ultra 
of all abstraction and generalization." 

" A universal representing the genus law would be called the no- 
tion of LAW in genere. 


Transcendental philosophy is the doctrine of the possibi- 
lity oi a priori knowledge ; a perception is there- 
fore TRANSCENDENTAL, not merely when it is apriori, 
but when it serves to explain the origin of some apri- 
ori science. Thus SPACE and time are called trans- 
cendental representations, when, by the theory 
of their being intuitions apriori, we understand how 
geometry and algebra arise. In the same way free- 
dom is a transcendental idea, for by its means 
the origin of the moral law, which is a synthetical 
a priori proposition, is understood, i. e. compre- 

METAPHYSic,ybr»j«% considered, is transcendental philo- 

Metaphysic, materially considered, is the science by which the 
UNDERSTANDING passes from its knowledge of the 
SENSIBLE to a knowledge of the supersensible. 

Ethic, formally considered, is the science of the ground 
whereon the moral law obliges (chap. iii. of the 

Ethic, materially considered, is thr? doctrine of the system 
of the ends whereunto the law obliges (i. e. morals). 

Morals, therefore, is ethic materially considered (p. 210, 
et seq.). 



(^Critik der reinen Vermmft.) 



De nobis ipsis sileraus ; de re autem, quae agitur, petimus, ut homi- 
nes earn non Opinionem sed Opus esse cogitent ; ac pro certo habeant, 
non Sectse nos alicujus, aut Placiti, sed utilitatis et amplitudinis bumanse 
fundamenta moliri. Eeinde ut suis commodis sequi in commune con- 
sulant, et ipsi in partem veniant. Praeterea, ut bene sperent, neque 
Instaurationem nostram ut quiddam infinitum et ultra mortale fingant, 
et animo concipiant, quum revera sit infiniti eiToris finis et terminus 



Shortly after the Great Advancer of Learning -A4^ 
had swept from its Halls the cobweb and vermiculate ^'^^<\i^^_\ , 
questions of the Schoolmen — England, now at length ^ e^*^^ 
disenthralled from the encumbrance of those Stygian 
Sophisters, found herself at leisure to bring forth and 
offer to the notice of the world new Systems and new 
Sciences of her own. These she owed to the Genius 
of a Newton and a Locke ; and the Principia, the 
Method of Fluxions, the elegant Theory of Light 
and Colours, together with the Book of Ideas, were 
the first fruits of this regained Freedom. 

The highly flattering reception given to the " Book 
of Ideas," was owing partly to the native interest this 
inquiry has, partly to the sifting discernment of the 
writer, but principally to the method of investigation 
he pursued. The English were gratified by consider- 


ing the Essay on the Understanding as a fresh shoot 
of the Baconian Induction, and of that new style in 
philosophy which was altogether insular, and which 
Sic Isaac had just cultivated so successfully. Locke's 
work was held and reputed quite a domestic and na- 
tional system ; and, contrasting the clearness and lu- 
cidness of his language with the strange and deformed 
jargon* usually employed on such topics, his country- 
men received it with enthusiasm and applause ; and, 
under a great variety of modifications, it still asserts 
the rank of the chief and principal authority in Bri- 
tish speculations. The work was carried by Condillac 
into France, where it continued for a long time after, 
in such esteem, that we find its author styled by Vol- 
taire the only philosopher who had arisen since the 
days of Plato. 

The system of Locke was keenly contested by 
Leibnitz, whose controversy with Sir Isaac Newton 
as to the invention of the Calculus, as well as his dis- 
putes with DrClarke, had introduced him to thenotice 
of the learned in this country ; controversies, about 
which the Elector of Hanover, now become King of 
Great Britain, and naturally interested for his country- 
man, was pleased frequently to inquire. Owing to 
some such circumstances as these, we became pretty 
well acquainted with the theory of the monads, and the 

* Technicalities, alas I that tlevgi? can be separated from any 
formal metaphysic. 


doctrine of the pre-established harmony ; but, since a 
narrative of the revolutions in philosophical opinion 
is of value only in so far as it serves to explain the 
circumstances from which the system of Kant took 
its rise, it would be quite beside the purpose to tarry 
upon matters so antiquated and exploded as the 
dreams of Leibnitz. Suffice it to say, that two of the 
principles introduced by Leibnitz into his speculations, 
as explanatory of the phenomena of thought, were, 
the principle of the suffic ient reason, and the principle 
o f contradiction ; two positions taken afterwards by 
Wolf into his protection, and which continued to 
constitute, for more than half a century, the ground- 
work of the tenets held by philosophers in Germany. 
But while in Europe the schools were long regard- 
ed as one source of the current of opinion, the church 
had from time immemorial been regarded as in pos- 
session of another, till, about the middle of the last 
century, the continued march of investigation indu- 
ced the Protestant Church in Germany to abandon 
its opinion of inspiration, as incapable of defence.* 
With the loss of this ancient and most venerable 
dogma, the creed of the church fell, and with it there 
passed away and vanished to oblivion every part of 
that speculative theology which the labour of ages had 
been exhausted in erecting and supporting. 

* St'audlin. Geschichte d. Rationalismus und Supernatura- 
lismus. Gottingen, 1826, p. 133-4. 


In Britain the attitude of public opinion was dia- 
metrically opposed to that assumed in Germany ; for 
when, about the same time, Locke's system had grown 
in the hands of Berkeley into the most fantastical and 
extravagant idealism, and its insufficiency had become 
still more apparent, by Hume's showing, on the in- 
ductive method^ that we had no such notions as cause 
and power i our public, more inclined by their open 
maritime situation to active habits than to specu- 
lation, became disgusted with all inquiries of the 
Schools, and Metaphysics fell, as absurd, under con- 

Again, as the Anglican establishment had ably sup- 
ported the Divine authority on which the church af- 
firms itself to be based,* when our ingenious country- 
man, Mr Hume, contrived to raise his doubts as to 
the notions cause and power, and even urged his 
scepticism to the extent of calling in question the fu- 
ture existence of the soul, and the moral government 
of the world, those who were bewildered by the 
subtlety of the schools, eagerly sought refuge in that 
other source of opinion, the church ; and it was even 
argued, that this visible weakness and frailty of the hu- 
man powers afforded an extra ground for distrusting 
the light of reason, and hastening to follow a guide 
which claimed to be Divine. 

* The Divine Legation of Moses demonstrated, by William 
Warbiirton. The Analogy of Revealed to Natural Religion, 
by Joseph Butler. 


This fundamental dissimilarity betwixt the posture 
of opinion in Germany and at home, enables us to 
understand why a thorough reply was given to Hume 
in Germany, while no effective answer was ever fur- 
nished by his countrymen : for while Germany was 
distracted with the most opposite, unsatisfactory, and 
shallow disputes,* and the school of Wolf, resting 
on the postulates advanced by Leibnitz, alone pos- 
sessed sufficient independence to deserve the name of 
a philosophy, the books of Mr Hume began to 
gain a hearing, and the astonished followers of Wolf 
saw all at once, in the attack upon cause and effect, 
their system, which rested on the principle of the suf- 
ficient reason, struck at, and shaken from the foun- 

Accordingly, the footstep of " deliberate doubty' 
trod with far more destroying violence, among the 
Teutonic systems of opinion, than it did elsewhere ; 
there was absolutely nothing to oppose to it. The 
understanding, scathed and defenceless, had neither 
prop nor stay on which to rest. The abysses of 
unreason yawned for it from beneath. There was in 
Germany no system, whether human or divine, of 
sufficient potency to fill up the chasm — no metaphy- 
sic Curtius, as yet, to dash into the gap. 

In such crises, master-minds usually arise; nor 
could the great interests of man, the independency 

* Mainly started at the Court of Frederick the Great. 


and freedom of his will, the immortality of his think- 
ing part, and the supremacy of ordet and design, to 
the exclusion of chance and mechanic fate, in the 
frame-work and constitution of the universe, he re- 
signed without a desperate conflict. 

After thirty years of elaborate cogitation, Kant ap- 
peared in support of these great interests of man, 
and gave to the world the most magnijficent and su- 
blime attempt it ever saw, in his Inquiry into the 
Reach and Extent of the a priori Operations of the 
Human Mind. 

Kant had remarked, that the system of Locke, 
which ascribed the origin of all our perceptions to the 
action of the senses and to reflection, laboured under 
the most glaring defects ; and even Locke seems to 
have been in part aware of this : for it is highly im- 
portant to remark, that Locke himself acknowledges 
that he cannot account for the origin of the notion 
SUBSTANCE ;* and for that reason he puts off his 
reader by calling it an obscure expression, employed 
to denote something unknown. But the candid theo- 
rist might have applied the same remark to the no- 
tion CAUSE, and, in fact, to any other necessary per- 
ception of the mind. This Hume detected ; and, pro- 

* Book II. chap. xxii. § 2, and book I. ch. iv. § 18. I confess 
there is another idea, which would be of general use for man- 
kind to have ; as it is, of general talk, as if they had it : and 
that is the idea substance, which we neither have, nor can have, 
by sensation or reflection. 


ceediiig upon Mr Locke's principles, he showed, that 
by the way of observation and experience, no notion 
of causality could be formed, and hence inferred the 
representations cause and power to be fantastical. 
But since it is certain and undoubted that all man- 
kind have notions both of substance and causa- 
tion, a system not accounting for their origin, however 
praiseworthy and ingenious it otherwise may be, does 
not satisfy the demands a complete and exact ana- 
lysis of the mind must answer. 

Finding that the phenomena of mind could not be 
explained upon the inductive method, Kant esta- 
blished a new postulate, which he advanced as the 
basis and groundwork whereon his whole system 
rested ; and this fundamental proposition, if admitted, 
is sufficient to carry us through every stage of the ar- 
gument. It is a principle pervading the most remote 
and apparently detached parts of this system, and 
gives coherence to every link in the chain of rea- 

This weighty postulate is — 
" What truth soever is necessary, and of univer- 
sal extent, is derived to the mind from its own ope- 
ration, and does not rest on observation and expe- 
rience ; as, conversely, what truth or perception 
soever is present to the mind, with a consciousness, 
not of its necessity, hut of its contingency, is ascrib- 
able not to the origifial agency of the mind itself, 


hut derives its origin from observation and expe* 

And here it is of importance to observe, that an in- 
quiry, conducted on this principle, is, in the strictest 
sense of the words, that inquiry into the mind, on the 
principles of common sense, attempted, but not suc- 
ceeded in, by our Scotch Psychologists. The common 
sense of mankind, if any thing at all, is the aggre- 
gate of those sentiments and opinions, which, by the 
constitution and frame-work of his mind, man must 
necessarily and inevitably hold. Upon this account, 
common sense is that whereon all men in all ages are 
agreed ; and which, however darkly, they represent to 
themselves as the common notices of reason. Consi- 
dered from this station, it is indeed the strongest and 
most fatal objection that can be urged against any 
speculative system, to say that it is subversive of com- 
mon sense ; for, in other words, that is just asserting 
that the system militates against the necessary and 
immutable laws of thought. Common sense, then, so 
far from being lost sight of by Kant, is the very soul 
and principle of his investigation ; and this I point 
at those who talk of the " tremendous apparatus of 
the German school :" and pronounce his system the 
most plain downright common sense ever uttered. 

Bearing then in mind the foregoing postulate, let 
us see what it is employed to solve. The matter to be 
explained is the origin and constitution of knowledge 
a priori ; an inquiry into the origin of the a priori 


sciences being, in effect, just an inquiry into those a 
priori functions of thought whereby science has been 
brought about. 

But this great object of investigation, in short, the 
stating of the " general question'' of the Critique^ it 
may be as well to express in the words of Kant him- 

Every truth expressed in a judgment is either 
NECESSARY or CONTINGENT ; and again, farther, 
all JUDGMENTS are either analytic or synthe- 
tic. Thus, " in every judgment into which the rela- 
tion of subject and predicate can enter, that relation 
must be constituted in one of two ways. Either the 
predicate B belongs to the subject A, as something 
already contained, though covertly, in it, or B, the 
predicate, lies utterly without the idea y/, although 
conjoined with it. In the first case, I call the propo- 
sition analytic, in the second synthetic. An analytic 
proposition, then, is that in which the connection of 
the subject with the predicate arises from their iden- 
tity ; but that is a synthetic proposition where, with- 
out identity, the combination is effected. The first 
of these I might call explanatory propositions, be- 
cause they, by means of the predicate, add nothing 
to our knowledge of the object; but, merely resolve or 
dissect that knowledge into those component parts, 
which were already covertly contained in it ; whereas 
the latter add to our representation of the object a 


predicate not contained in it, and which could not by 
any analysis have been educed out of it. 

" For example, when I say all bodies are extend- 
ed, or gold is a yellow metal, the proposition can be 
regarded as analytic only, or explanatory of our know- 
ledge ; for I am not obliged to go beyond the con- 
ception I have of body or of gold, in order to find 
the predicates which already constitute a component 
part of the perception : these propositions are there- 
fore analytic. But when I say somebodies are heavy, 
or gold does not rust, the predicate is entirely differ- 
ent from the component perceptions contained in that 
of gold or body, and the addition of such a predicate 
gives rise to a synthetic proposition, xi ff si; 
;.L *' All knowledge founded on observation and expe- 
rience is, without exception, synthetical ; for it were 
altogether absurd to found an analytical judgment on 
experience, it not being necessary in such a case to 
quit the given conception, in order to compose the 
proposition ; and, consequently, I do not require any 
farther assistance from experience to satisfy myself 
that body is extended, and that gold is yellow. And 
in my notion of the extension and colour of these sub- 
stances, I already find every thing requisite to frame 
the foregoing judgments. * aih i 

" Again, although in the perception * body,' there 
is not involved that of * weight* nor in gold that of 
rust, still, from experience and observation, I may 


learn to connect them ; and, in such a case, the truth 
rests on a posteriori evidence. 

" But in the case of synthetic judgments a priori, 
the assistance of experience is altogether wanting. 
The mind here passes from the subject A, to discover 
a predicate B as connected with it ; and the question 
is, how are such propositions extending our know- 
ledge a priori framed ; and what is the fulcrum 
which supports the synthesis ?" There must be some 
latent function of mind, hitherto unknown and unat- 
tended to, giving birth to our synthetical a priori 
knowledge ; and to track out and investigate these 
deeply hidden processes of thought, is the end and 
aim of Kant's disquisition. 

That knowledge is a priori which the mind at- 
tains independently of experience ; and that we really 
possess such, the Mathematics and Natural Philo- 
sophy concur to attest. When it is asserted that the 
asymptote and hyperbola continually approach, yet 
without ever meeting, a position is advanced, obviously 
transcending the possibility of experience, and the 
evidence and certainty of it cannot be sought in an 
inductive method plainly falling short of its extent. 
In like manner, when it is asserted that the hypo-, 
thenuse squared is equal to the sum of the squares of 
the sides, the proposition is not only seen to be of 
NECESSITY true, but to be further of universai, 
EXTENT (?. e. admitting no exception), and to em- 
brace every right-angled-triangle whatsoever, although 


there are many possible triangles which have not fal- 
len within the scope of the geometer's investigation. 
It cannot, therefore, be from experimenting upon 
figures, that the geometer arrives at the universality 
of his conclusions ; for, in the former instance, expe- 
rience was literally impossible, and in the latter, one 
investigation effectuates the certainty of the conclu- 
sion ; nor is that certainty, as in experimental che- 
mistry, increased by successive observations. 

Again, when the natural philosopher maintains 
that bodies at rest continue at rest, and those in mo- 
tion move on for ever, he advances a position far 
transcending all limits of experience, which, notwith- 
standing, he holds to be necessary, and of universal 
extent ; and which, in fact, if denied, would involve 
the denial of all physics. The following may serve 
still farther to instance the kind of position whence 
the physical philosopher takes his flight. The natural 
philosopher maintains many such positions : he holds 
that, amidst all the transmutation of phenomena, the 
quantum of substance throughout the world remains 
unaltered and the same ; and yet it is these mutations 
alone which are objected by observation and expe- 
rience to his senses. He goes still farther, and as- 
serts that all phenomena and their changes depend 
upon the law of cause and effect ; and, apart from 
these positions, physical science would have no wj aru^ 
and could not advance a step. 

It might, upon a hasty survey, seem that every 


man is just as well satisfied that the sun will rise to- 
morrow, as he is that two and two make four ; and, be- 
yond all controversy, we should rightly judge him 
verging on insanity, who should give himself much 
concern lest either should prove false. But, betwixt 
the two judgments, how great a difference is percep- 
tible, the instant we bring to bear upon them the test 
contained in the fundamental postulate of the system. 
For, while every one unhesitatingly represents to him- 
self as undoubted, the future rising of the sun to- 
morrow, no one finds the least difficulty in conceiving 
that perhaps it might not rise — in the nature of things, 
it might very well be otherwise ; but that two and two 
should ever come to be anything else than four, is 
what no man is able even to depicture, or to state to 
himself in thought. The internal and absolute ne- 
cessity of the truth, then, in the one case, leads us to 
hold it not taken from experience; while the other, 
not possessing this characteristic mark, must rest on 
such grounds as an induction of facts has supplied. 

The difference obtaining betwixt the necessary and 
contingent parts of knowledge is so striking and 
unique, that it may perhaps not be out of place to add, 
that if the postulate on which the system rests is red- 
argued, those who refuse to grant it their assent, 
may be called on to assign some other and better ra- 
tionale^ whereby to explain the origin of necessary 

But not only are many synthetical judgments a 


priori, but, which is exceedingly to be remarked, single 
perceptions, their elements, and which go to constitute 
the judgment, are also themselves a 'priori. Space, for 
example, is so ; and it is because space is a perception 
a priori, as we shall immediately evince, that mathe- 
matics consists of a continued suite of synthetic a pri- 
ori judgments relative to the configurations of space, all 
based on the a priori representing space itself. That 
space is a priori, any common example may serve to 
manifest, e. g. an orange. An inductive philosopher 
declares that the representation of the orange is en- 
tirely framed by the impressions made upon the senses 
from without. Now, were this the case, then Kant 
remarks, by decomposing the conception, i e. by ab- 
stracting from it the colour, smell, weight, flavour, and 
so on, the whole representation ought to be abolish- 
ed. Let us try if it really be so, and if any thing re- 
main after we have thrown off the different elements 
received by the senses, it remains that we pronounce 
this residuum no product of sensation from without ; 
abstracting then, from the orange, the colour, taste, &c., 
and the other particulars derived to us through the 
senses : let us, to make quite sure of the experiment, at 
last abolish it in thought, and it is immediately obser- 
vable that the space it occupied will still remain; 
the vacant form of the annihilated body still presents 
itself; nor can I by any force of imagination oblite- 
rate this part of the perception. We hence conclude, 
remaining true to our postulate, that the necessity 


with which space obtrudes itself in consciousness 
teaches an origin, not from observation and experience, 
but from the a priori action of the mind itself. 

From Psychology we receive the division of the 
mental faculties into sense and understanding, or, in 
other words, into receptivity and spontaneity. In or- 
der, then, to investigate the nature of our singular in- 
complex perceptions, let us isolate the sensory, and at- 
tend to its impressions in order to detect their neces- 
sary part, and we straightway remark, that through 
our external organs of sense all sensible phenomena 
present themselves in space, and that their whole state 
and mode of existence is represented to the mind in 
time ; in other words, the mind invariably and ne- 
cessarily represents all objects of experience as lying 
out of arid beyond one another (i. e. in space)^ and 
also as occurring one after another (i. e. in time). 
Space and time are intimately interwoven and en- 
twined with all our impressions ; so much so, that 
were space awanting, the whole external world would 
cease to be cogitable ; and, apart from time, no change 
of our internal state of mind, ?. e. no representation, 
could at all be conceivable of any sort. These two 
perceptions, then, first claim attention ; for it is plain, 
that if our sensitive perceptions have a necessary part, 
that necessary part is to be sought for in space and 
time ; and if so, then are space and time intuitions 
begotten by the mind itself, and so a priori. Space 
and time are intuitions a priori. But before em- 



barking upon this broad speculation. Logic has died 
out so much in this country, that it may be requisite 
to make a prelude from common logic, on the specific 
difference of intuitons and conceptions. 

The perceptions of sense are immediate, those of the 
understanding mediate only : sense refers its percep- 
tion directly and immediately to an object. Hence 
the perception is singular, incomplex, and immediate, 
i. e. is intuition. When I see a star, or hear the 
tones of a harp, the perceptions are immediate, incom- 
plex, and intuitive. This is the good old logical mean- 
ing of the word intuition. In our philosophic writ- 
ings, however, intuitive and intuition have come to be 
applied solely to propositions : it is here extended to 
the first elements of perception, whence such proposi- 
tions spring. Again, intuition, in English, is restrict- 
ed to perceptions a priori ; but the established logi- 
cal use and wont applies the word to every immediate 
incomplex representation whatsoever ; and it is left 
for farther and more deep inquiry to ascertain what 
intuitions are founded on observation and experience, 
and what arise from a priori sources. 

The understanding is in the possession of the uni- 
versals ; and these it uses to hold fast the singulars, 
which flit across the sensory. The whole operation 
of the understanding consists in judging,* that is, 

* Even the raising a universal, which is thinking, may be 
called JUDGING ; for, formally/ considered, every notion is a 
judgment. This is obvious, as both are rules. 


for the most part, in subsuming singulars under their 
universals ; the consolidating and binding together 
of which with one another, gives birth to knowledge. 
Thus a child has for a long time nothing but sen- 
sations : by and by he becomes conscious of things, 
and this is as yet only an operation of the sensory. 
But from the thing the understanding extracts, and 
generalizes its rule ; and when the thing again recurs 
to sense, the child recognises it, i. e. he makes a sub- 
sumtion of the thing under its universal or notion, 
and so knows it. The understanding lays hold of the 
thing by help of the rule, and so fixes and deter- 
mines the particular impression, by superinducing up- 
on it the notion it belongs to. As yet, however, it 
is only in this given use that the child is conscious 
of imiversals (i. e. in concreio) ; and it is only after a 
while that it can represent to itself the rules of things, 
even apart from the presence of the things themselves 
(i. e. in abstracto). This is the distinction betwixt 
the concrete and abstract use of notions. When, for 
the first time, I see a star, I am conscious only of a 
thing, I have no knowledge of anywhat. The un- 
derstanding, however, takes occasion to learn to know 
it, i. e, to acquaint itself with the intuition {kennen). 
This it does by framing to itself the universal ; and 
when the object recurs a second time, and it applies 
the rule, it then recognises the object {erkennen), 
and this is knowledge. To frame a notion, is to get ac- 
quainted with the object {kennen lernen) ; to apply 


the notion, is to know or recognise the object. By 
the universals, then, knowledge of an object is consti- 
tuted ; and, properly speaking, every universal is just 
the notion of an object which may be subsumed un- 
der it. Regarded from this point of view, we may 
explain a universal to be the notion of a poten- 
tial OBJECT ; for it is the predicate of some possible 
object whereof it may become the distinguishing mark. 
Exactly in the same manner, a category, or pure 
INTELLECTUAL NOTION, uudcr which some particu- 
lar intuition may be subsumed, is just the notion of 
a potential object, to which it may apply and be re- 
ferred ; and this is what is meant by saying that 
categories are notions of a potential object in 

Having premised, with all possible brevity, these 
remarks, which belong not to this investigation, but 
to common Logic merely, we go on with the disqui- 
sition upon the nature of the perceptions, Space and 



Space is Intuition a priori. 

The investigation has here two points to establish : 
1. That space is a representation a priori; and, 2. 
That the representation is intuitive^ and not discur- 
sive, i. e. is a singular, not a universal. 

I. Space is a necessary representation ; no human 
subject is devoid of it, and each individual must have 
it, as his thinking faculty presents it to him. It is 
unalterably present to the mind, and by no eiFort can 
any man rid himself of it. It is very easy to imagine 
that there are no external objects, but it is impossible 
to figure in thought the non-existen«e of space. It is, 
therefore, to be regarded as independent on the ob- 
jects it contains, and as a fundamental representation, 
lying at the bottom of all our perception of external 
phenomena ; and since it is of the essence of our pos- 
tulate, that no necessary absolute perception can be 
explained upon the supposition of its proceeding from 
observation and experience, v^re infer that space is a 
representation originated by the mind itself. 

II. Upon the same account, space cannot be held 
to be a representation borrowed from the impressions 
of external bodies. Condillac alleges that we form 
the perception by passing our hand along the surfaflfe 
of solids. But this hypothesis is unsatisfactory ; for 


when he speaks of surfacCy he avails himself of a con- 
ception which is to be understood only by pre-suppos- 
ing space, which last, therefore, cannot be derived 
from it : — besides, it is uncontroverted that space is 
no object of sensation. 

III. Space is a representation a priori ; for we are 
in possession of a priori truths concerning it : — a thing 
impossible, were space a perception framed by any in- 
duction or experiment. It is by virtue of the a priori 
necessity of space, that we are able to say " space 
has three dimensions.^' " The different parts of 
space are contemporaneous, and not successive ; as, on 
the contrary, we say, the different parts of time are 
not co-existent, but successive. Such positions can- 
not take their rise from observation and experience, for 
then they would have neither absolute universality 
nor apodictic certainty, and we could only say, such 
are phenomena of Space, so far as our observa- 
tion has extended. But we never could venture to 
affirm, what is the test of an a priori original, that 
so it must be. However, we not only state parts of 
space to be co-existent, but we have the necessary in- 
sight, that it would be absurd to figure the matter to 
be otherwise. 

IV. Again, since space is alleged to be a discur- 
sive or general perception, it is to be observed that 
space is no abstract general notion obtained by the 
mind, owing to its having been impinged upon by 
any real actual spaces in the particular ; for every ab- 


stract notion differs from the singular perceptions 
whence it has been taken, by containing singly the 
general characteristics common to all those intuitions 
it belongs to. For example, the abstract general no- 
tion " redy^ differs from any singular red, such as 
rose-red, or scarlet-red, or purple-red, by containing 
merely the general marks common to all red colours. 
But the representation of any given lesser spaces does 
not differ at all from the representation of the one 
great space they are in. On the contrary, indivi- 
dual spaces are clearly part of, and identically one and 
the same with, the vast, all-containing space, alleged 
to be abstracted from them. The one great space is 
therefore no abstraction of the lesser spaces, but the 
lesser spaces are merely partial limitations of the ori- 
ginary representing of an absolute and prior space. 
Whence it follows that space is no conception, but is 

V. Space is one single, incomplex representation, 
for we can figure to ourselves, one space singly ; and 
when we talk of spaces, we mean only partial limi- 
tations of one and the same all-containing space; 
but a representation which is single and incomplex, is 
called intuition. Farther, were space not an intui- 
tion, but a conception, there could not be any axiomatic 
truths extensive of our knowledge regarding it. In 
an axiom, two representations are combined in a judg- 
ment : if then space were a conception, it is plain 
that no axiomatic proposition could be formed regard- 


ing it, and the notion could give birth only to analy- 
tic judgments ; but never to synthetical a priori pro- 
positions, extending our knowledge, which the mathe- 
^tnatics do. When I assert that every thing which hap- 
pens has a cause, I combine two conceptions, and leave 
the notion of somewhat which happens, in order to find 
the farther notion cause, which I connect with it ; 
but when I assert space has three dimensions, or that 
two straight lines do not inclose space, I continue 
within the representation space. The whole science 
of geometry consists of such propositions ; and yet it 
never quits, nor goes out of and beyond, the originary 
perception space ; and since we extend our knowledge, 
and yet remain within the representation, it results 
that space cannot be a conception, but that geome- 
try is given in one originary intuition space. 

VI. Lastly, Space is the representing of infinite 
extent ; but by experience and observation are fur- 
nished no impressions of infinite extent. Space is 
therefore an originary representing. Upon the very 
same account it cannot be a notion ; for although a 
notion may perhaps belong to an infinite variety of 
objects, yet it is never cogitated as belonging to them 
all at once. Space, however, is figured as containing 
under it an infinite variety of lesser spaces ; whence it 
results that space cannot be a notion, but must be 


Of Time. 

What has been just advanced with regard to space, 
iSi mutatis mutandis, tnie of time ; and the repetition 
of an argument so similar, will tend greatly to facili- 
tate the understanding of the one just used in re- 
spect of space. 

I. Time is a necessary and unalterable percep- 
tion, which lies at the bottom of all sensitive repre- 
sentation. In respect of phenomena, we cannot even 
in thought abolish time ; but we can easily remove 
all phenomena appearing in it. Adhering to our 
postulate, we conclude time to be a representation 
a priwi. ^ 

II. Time is no perception borrowed from observa- 
tion and experience ; for co-existence and succession 
could never be perceived if the representation of 
time did not first of all make them possible, and it is 
only by presupposing time that there is room to 
speak of things being, either one after the other or 

III. It is upon this necessity a priori that rests 
the certainty of those propositions which we are able 
to make with regard to it. Thus, we say, time has 
only one dimension. Different parts of time are not 
together, but successive. These are facts which can- 
not be explained by experience, because experience 
and observation never yield propositions invested with 


absolute universality or axiomatic certainty ; and in 
the above instance the mind not only perceives that 
so the fact is, but, which is the strict criterion to be 
applied, that so it must necessarily be. 

IV. Time is not an abstract notion, which has been 
derived to the mind from the observation and expe- 
rience of particular little times ; for these lesser times 
are parts of it, and do not differ, except in limitation, 
from the representation of one great all-containing 
time : again, since every abstract notion differs from 
the singular perception whence it has been generalised, 
and here lesser times do not differ from the major 
representation of time, alleged to be abstracted from 
them, but are on the contrary parts of it, and seen 
to be identic with it, it follows that time is not ab- 
stracted or generalised from any experience of parti- 
cular lesser times, but is an intuition a priori. 

V. Time is one single, incomplex representation ; 
it is therefore intuition : and if it were a notion, 
neither arithmetic nor algebra could be given : the 
moments of time are number, as the parts of space 
were magnitude. The whole of arithmetic consists 
of synthetic a priori propositions ; and since by these 
we extend our knowledge, arithmetic and algebra 
cannot consist in analysing a conception. -Again, 
when we say that 6 and 4 make ten, we continue 
within the representation of the genesis of the suc- 
cessive moments of time, and never quit it ; whence it 
follows that time is not a notion, but is intuition. 


VI. Time represents an immensity of duration, but 
experience and observation teach no permanents of 
illimitable extent : time is therefore a priori, and for 
the same reason it cannot be a notion, but is intui- 

Space and Time are,therefore originary intuitions a 
priori ; but this is not to be understood as if space 
and time were two perceptions stamped upon the 
sensory : that were a ludicrous opinion of the matter. 
All human knowledge begins undeniably with expe- 
rience, and, prior to our being stimulated by objects 
different from ourselves, there is no representation 
whatever in the mind. Space and time are developed 
in the sensory, only after our receptive part has been 
impinged upon by objects from without ; that is to 
say, the impressions and sensations received by our 
sensory, it arranges, as external and successive. Space 
and Time, therefore, express two lawsof our receptivity, 
by virtue of which it arranges every change of its state 
according to its own necessary and unalterable laws 
of externality and succession. Of this its own ope- 
ration the mind is conscious, and by the originary 
genesis of space and time these two intuitions are 
presented in the sensory ; they become interwoven 
with every thing experienced and observed, and make 
a part and necessary constituent of all our singular 
perceptions. There is really very little difficulty in 
understanding this exposition of the laws of the sen- 
sory ; and whatever difficulty or obscurity there may 


be, arises chiefly from this, that we can treat of the 
matter only by notions (i. e. by words), whereas, what 
we want to arrive at is, that our notion of space and 
time is that they are intuitions, i. e. are each an ori- 
ginary representing, and into this originary represent- 
ing the student must transplant himself, i. e. he must 
himself generate space and time ; and it is only by 
transplanting one's self into the originary genesis of 
space and time that we fully apprehend what is meant 
by calling space and time intuitions a priori. 

From all this it is clear, that space does not repre- 
sent any quality of external objects, or any relation 
which they bear one to another, but is merely a func- 
tion of the sensory ; and it expresses the relation ob- 
taining singly betwixt objects unknown to us, and 
our mode of perceiving them. The objects we per- 
ceive are therefore modified by these a priori per- 
ceptions, and hence our intuitions represent pheno- 
mena only, not things-in-themselves, that is, we per- 
ceive things, not as they are, but as they appear to us 
in space and time ; which two last are called upon 
that account the forms of phenomena. Different 
finite intelligents may have quite different laws of 
perception, and it is quite possible that persons in 
other worlds may envisage the self-same objects in a 
wholly different kind of way. Space then does not 
in any wise adhere to bodies different from ourselves, 
nor would it be any predicate of them, when we ab- 
stract from the operations of our own mind.' 


Upon these grounds, Space is 2iform of perception, 
by which alone external impressions are rendered 
possible ; and since the susceptibility of the thinking 
subject to be affected in any given way must pre- 
cede in the order of things his being so affected, 
we easily understand how the forms of phenomena can 
be a priori, and may reside within the mind, while 
the impressions constituting the matter of those phe- 
nomena are a posteriori singly. It is therefore as 
human subjects alone that we can speak of extension, 
and, apart from the conditions of our own receptivity, 
space and time are terms void of meaning, and wholly 
nothing ; but, in so far as our perceptions are concern- 
ed, they have all reality and meaning, constituting, 
as we have seen, elements of every representation 
which can enter into the mind ; and when we say 
space contains all objects, that means, so far as they 
are phenomena, what the objects are in themselves : 
independently of our mode of perceiving them, we 
have no knowledge. 

In exactly the same manner. Time is not anything 
possessed of a real absolute existence, and which 
would remain if our perception of it were to fall away. 
It is only the form of all internal intuitions ; and 
since all impressions even of external objects pass into 
the mind, and there effect changes in its state, and 
Time is the law by which all modifications of our inter- 
nal state are arranged, it is clear, that while Space is 
the condition a priori of our receiving impressions from 


without, Time is a condition apriori regulating all sen- 
sitive perceptions whatsoever, whether from within or 
from without. But the states of our mind are also in 
Time a form of phenomena ; whence it is clear that of 
mind itself we discover no more than the phenomena. 
What the soul may be in itself, and apart from our 
mode of perceiving it, we cannot tell. 

I. This exposition puts us in possession of the real 
nature of space and time, whereas, formerly, when 
space and time were supposed to be realities, two huge 
phantoms were assumed, the nature of which was 
perfectly incomprehensible, and the theory of which 
has at all times been loaded with exhaustless difficul- 
ties. Again, when space and time were held to be 
nothing, motion, and the whole universe of things dif- 
ferent from ourselves, were endangered, and a system 
of extravagant or dreaming idealism introduced, not 
to say that upon this last assumption the science of 
mathematics remained a complete enigma ; for if 
space be truly nothing, then mathematics would be 
the science of nothing, which is unintelligible, and 
the axioms on which it rests would be propositions 
regarding a nonentity. Whereas, when we know 
that space and time are laws of sense, these difficul- 
ties are removed ; for, 

II. The reason is now clearly seen of the peculiar 
nature of the exact sciences, space and time being 
intuitions a priori ; an insight this into the nature of 
Geometry and the Calculus unattained so long as 


sipace and time were mistaken for abstract notions. 
It is owing to this high priori source that mathema- 
tics has its self- evidencing certainty, the intuitiveness 
of its relations, and its demonstrative method. This 
new theory also explains the last ground of the differ- 
ence obtaining betwixt mathematic and metaphysic 
speculation : metaphysic has to do with abstract no- 
tions, and so cannot attempt to copy the axiomatic 
intuitions of the former, nor yet its methodic march 
of demonstration. The topics with which metaphysic 
are conversant, are not intuitive or perceptible by 
sense, as are space and time, whereon the mathema- 
tics exercises itself, but abstract notions, which do not 
admit of being delineated in any sensible configura- 
tion a priori. Thus, to become convinced that 6 and 
4 make ten, I depicture the notion 4 by counting 
over my four fingers ; the other notion 6 by the intui- 
tion of six fingers more ; thus I supply the intuition 
ten, and, rising upon this intuition of number, con- 
clude that the notion ten is equivalent to the notions 
of 6 and of 4. — But in metaphysical philosophy this 
is impracticable. {Comp. p. 159.) 

III. A third result from this new theory of space 
and time is, that it teaches us the line of demarca- 
tion betwixt the sensory and the understanding, and 
affords an unerring criterion by which to discriminate 
them ; a point in which the Greek philosophy contin- 
ually erred, and which is of the most vital moment 
toward a clear understanding of the sciences of Geome- 


try and Ethic. The Greeks mistook the groundwork 
of the mathematic sciences to be notions, abstract pro- 
ducts of the understanding, and hence fancied that 
metaphysic was capable of a similar extent, and of 
piercing beyond the senses into a world merely cogi- 
table, and of predicating a priori concerning things 
invisible and no way objected to the senses, although, 
on more sifting examination, those airy structures 
were generally sapped and overturned by the sceptics. 
But we now see that space and time belong to the 
sensory, and constitute the conditions only of sensi- 
tive perception ; and that whatever appears in space 
and time must be held objected to the sensory. Thus 
the territory and domain of the understanding is at 
once and for ever cut off and entirely separated from 
that of the sensory. 

. IV. Lastly, there is no other intuition a priori, or 
law of the sensory, for there is no other condition thus 
fundamental to our thinking system ; for though cer- 
tain impressions must be pre-supposed for particular 
senses, as light for vision, and solidity for touch, yet 
these affect single senses only, and are not, like 
space and time, conditions of the whole sensory at 
large. Besides, they are obviously a posteriori; 
they are differently modified in different percipients. 
Nor are we in possession of any axioms or a priori 
truths concerning them. 



Having thus investigated the laws of the sensory, 
Kant proceeds to an analysis of the operations of tlie 
understanding. The sensory exhibited two unalter- 
able intuitions, which by their necessity and univer- 
sality of extent, we discovered to be a priori ; and in 
like manner, by virtue of the same postulate, we in- 
stantly become aware that the understanding possesses 
a standing necessary a priori representation, that of 
MYSELF, or " /." 

This standing unalterable representation of myself 
is called consciousness, or more particularly self- 
consciousness. Although uncompounded and in- 
complex, " /" is no singular perception, for we are in 
possession of no axiomatic truth concerning it. Nei- 
ther is it an universal, for then it might become the 
predicate of something different from itself, which is 
impossible ; it is therefore a naked representation, al- 
together sui generis, and is just consciousness. It is 
the general form of all singulars and universals what- 
ever. In short the " / " is the intellect itself, being 
neither more nor less than the understanding's self- 
consciousness of its own spontaneity — the power of 
self-representation is understanding. 

The sensory receives impressions and modifications 
of various kinds. These it arranges by virtue of its 
laws, according to a system of externality and suc- 



cession ; but impressions are quite detached and vague 
as they enter the sensory: they must be combined 
by the understanding, so as to constitute knowledge 
of an object. The orange I behold I figure to myself 
as ONE ; but the different elements of that objective 
perception, the smell, colour, weight, &c. have entered 
through as many different gateways into the mind, 
and it is plain that, so far as our receptive part is con- 
cerned, they lie scattered and disjointed on its sur- 
face. That which is represented is notwithstanding 
ONE ; whence we infer that the understanding must 
have effected a combination of those diverse intuitions; 
for, of all representations,coMBiNATiONor SYNTHESIS 
is the only one which cannot possibly be suggested by 
an object, or come into the mind through its senses, 
but must be performed by the thinking subject him- 
self, i. e. be operated by an act of his own spontaneity. 
Again, to call any perception mine, it is perfectly 
obvious that I must have combined it some how or 
other WITH myself ; this synthesis is what first 
consolidates the stuff and variety of sensitive percep- 
tion into an unum quid, or one whole, and is a com- 
bination which must NECESSARILY obtain between in- 
tuitions and the originary unalterable representation 
of MYSELF THE COGITANT. Every change of state, 
then, which can be represented on my sensory, has of 
NECESSITY some definite and assignable relation to 
that function of mind whereby I represent myself to 
be THE COGITANT ; for were the impressions of my 


sensory not such as to admit of being combined and 
consolidated with this suhstratal consciousness, then 
I never could become aware of them so as to call them 
or think of them as mine ; in other words, such mo- 
dification of my sensory, if not conjungible with my 
" /,*' were for me entirely null, and void of import. 

The representation of composite union* is then, 
as suchy no intuition, but demands composition, i. e. 
an act of synthesis. This notion, therefore, together 
with its anti-part, the uncompounded or simple 
{the notion of the " /"), is one not derived from any 

* The notion union implies, over and above the conception 
of a stuff and variety, and of the synthesis of such multifarUms, 
that of UNITY. Combination is therefore the representing of a 
COMPOSITE UNITY of the multifarious. But this unity must not 
be regarded as a product of the synthesis ; on the contrary, it is 
the supra-accession of this unity (tJie a priori vinculum " /") 
to the stuff and variety which makes a synthesis first of all pos- 
sible ; and this originary apperception " /" it is, that does, by 
force of its standing identity, introduce unity into the midst of 
all the chequered sensations of my receptivity ; and this repre- 
sentation, while itself unaccompanied by any other, pervades 
every thought, and, by extending itself throughout all the most 
remote and otherwise disconnected parts of the phenomena, lends 
to them that order, uniformity, and coherence they are seen to 
have. Even Space and Time, though singulars a priori, do, so 
far forth as they consist oi partes extra partes, exhibit a multiplex, 
and are incomplex perceptions only when regard is had to their 
potential conjungibility with the " /." It is, therefore, merely 
owing to the necessary and unalterable dependency and rela- 
tionship obtaining betwixt the sense and the understanding, i. e. 
owing to what Kant calls the synthetic influence of the " /" 
on the sensory, that the forms of phenomena are incomplex. 


intuition, but is a main-notion of the understand- 
ing — a notion a priori — and, moreover, the only main 
notion a priori which lies originally at the bottom of 
all representing of objects of sense. 

There will therefore be as many notioniS a primi 
originated by the understanding, under which all 
things objected to sense must stand, as there are func- 
tions or modes of intellectual synthesis. 

The inquiry into the originary main notions of the 
understanding has therefore now resolved itself into 
this very intelligible question : In what way and by 
what means does the understanding effect an union 
betwixt the multifarious stuff and variety objected to 
it in the sensory, and the unchanging perception of 


This UNION or synthesis the understanding ef- 
fects according to certain laws, whereby the combina- 
tion is brought about, and apart from which no know- 
ledge of any object can be constituted. Such laws are 
prior to experience, not actually, but virtually ; for 
they develope themselves when excited by phenomena. 
Again, those laws {of Synthesis) express the forms 
according to which the understanding acts by force of 
its nature and constitution. They will, therefore, be 
stamped universally on every part of human know- 
ledge ; and, as inward regulators of the use of the in- 
tellect, they are necessarily and indelibly pre- 
sent to every person's consciousness. 

The modes of synthesis, or forms of thought, have, 


however, long been known ; and we have to thank the 
noble inventor of logic that our course of investiga- 
tion is so much shortened. The laws by which the 
understanding combines perceptibles in originary 
consciousness, are neither more nor less than the logi- 
cal laws of the intellect. The understanding's logical 
laws of synthesis are the ground-forms of thought : 
and when these ground-forms are cogitated in ab- 
stractor then such ground-forms are notions (i. e. 
predicates or xarjjyog/a/) a priori of all objects whatso- 
ever. We may therefore say that the a priori notions 
of the objects given in a possible intuition whatsoever 
{i. e. whether according to our mode of sensitive per- 
ception or not), are just the notions of these logical 
functions of the understanding. 

Hence it is obvious that the category will ex- 
actly tally and correspond to the form of logical 
judgment whence it sprang ; and when a phenomenon 
is subsumed under a category, the category does no- 
thing more than determine which form of synthesis 
is to be applied to the phenomenon, so as to unify 
the singular perceptibles of which it is composed. 
This parallelism betwixt the categories and the formal 
laws of thought is exhibited in the following table. 




Logical Forms of Jxidging, 

I. Quantity. 




II. Quality. 


III. Substance. 




IV. Modality. 




whence the Categories. 

I. Quantity or extension. 

One (the measure). 
Many (the quantum). 
All (the whole). 

II. Gradation or intensity. 
Something («. e. Affirmation of a 
certain grade of in- 
tensity or reality). 
Nothing — negation. 
Anything — limitation. 

III. Substance. 

Substantiality — inherence. 
Causality — dependency. 
Reciprocity of action — re-action. 

IV. Modality. 

Possibility — impossibility. 
Entity — non-entity. 
Necessity — contingency.* 

* Such, then, are the main apriori notions or pure elementary 
conceptions of the understanding : but from their conjunction 
with one another, or with the a priori forms of intuition, spring 
other a priori universals secundi ordinis. They might be called 
derivative or quasi-categories. Of this sort is the notion power : 
it consists of the categories causality and substance. These 
two are ultimate notions, and admit of no farther explanation ; 
but when causality is attributed to substance, the notion power 
emerges : the definition of power (which Hume called in ques- 
tion) therefore is, that it is causality considered as residing in 


It must well be noted, that these categories do not 
presuppose or depend upon any particular intuition, 
or even upon any particular kind of intuition, — such 
as Space and Time, which may belong to us mankind 
only. The categories are, on the contrary, ground- 
forms or main-notions for cogitating any object of in- 
tuition whatever, and of what kind or sort soever, 
even although the object envisaged were supersen- 
sible : as to the nature of which supersensible intui- 
tion, we can frame to ourselves no conception at all. 
For we must first of all have a pure notion framed 
by the understanding of any object concerning which 

a substance. On the other hand, should we subsume sub- 
stance under dependency, the compound thence arising is 
the notion creation. If existence (i. e. entity) be farther 
represented as a quantum, the quasi-category duration is be- 
gotten : if the quantum of duration be farther figured as incom- 
mensurable with time, everlasting duration is then cogitated : 
if existence be represented with different and contrary acci- 
dents, we have the notion change ; e. g. in different parts of 
space then we have change of place, i. e. motion, all which are, 
it is clear, a priori notions, and a system of such notions might 
be drawn up, and a complete and e^chaustive catalogue of them 
made out. Kant seems at one time to have intended giving a 
complete chronicle of all composite a priori notions. It is very 
much to be regretted that he never completed this gallery of 
the intellectual antiques. Such a museum would have been a 
favourite and frequented study by all future m'etaphysic dilettanti. 
From the combination of the category with ideas spring the 
various cogitations treated of in psychology, theology, and cos- 
mology. By subsuming the cosmological idea under the no- 
tion cause, we receive the idea of an absolutely unconditioned 
cause, I. e. the idea freedom. 


we wish to predicate somewhat a priori, even though 
we should afterwards find that such object were trans- 
cendent, and for us altogether incognisable ; so that 
the category is in itself quite independent on the 
forms of our sensory {Space and Time), and may have 
in other sensitive percipients quite diverse and un- 
imaginable FORMS to work upon, provided only these 
forms constitute the subjective, which may go a pri- 
ori before all knowledge, and make synthetical a pri- 
ori judgments possible. 

And now the main problem of the Critique is solv- 
ed. We see clearly how mathematical and physical 
science are founded. Space and Time are intuitions a 
priori. To convert a representation into know- 
ledge demands a notion and an intuition welded 
together into one perception ; but from the a priori 
singulars are derived all the notions of the configura- 
tions of space and of the combinations of numbers 
discoursed of in geometry and arithmetic. What- 
ever arbitrary conjunction may be made of those no- 
tions, is at once either proved or disproved by refer- 
ring to the originary intuitions whence those notions 
come, and when that is clearly envisaged in the cor- 
responding singular {e. g. Euclid, book i. prop, iv.) 
which is cogitated in the universal {i. e. stated in the 
enunciation), then we have a self-evident, intuitive, 
and ostensively-demonstrated truth. Physical science, 
in the same way, consists of the continuous synthesis 
of singulars with universals ; but in physics the no- 


tions alone are a priori ; the phenomena to which cate- 
gories are applied are given only in experience and ob- 
servation. Consequently, natural philosophy is not 
intuitive, nor has it any self-evident axioms. It has, 
however, a mathematical part; for the universals 
MOTION and force are quasi-categories, into which 
space or time has entered. But such fundamental 
positions of physics as rest originally on the catego- 

SISTS, are quite independent of geometry and analy- 
sis, and spring solely from that subsumtion of sin- 
gular perceptions under categories, whereby the phy- 
sical system is first of all represented and constitut- 
ed ; but how such subsumtion of singulars a poste- 
riori under universals a priori is effected, requires still 
some explanation — an explanation not needed in any 
mathematical subsumtion, since both notion and in- 
tuition were not only a priori, but also quite homoge- 



The categories regarded as notions are predicates 
of a potential object in genere ; and hence the ques- 
tion arises, how can intuitions a posteriori be sub- 
sumed under categories which are nowise like them. 
To effect a subsumtion, there must always antecede 
some given and assignable resemblance betwixt the 
representations compared and unified. Thus a plate 
has similarity to the a priori geometric notion circle ; 
the roundness cogitated in this last being envisaged 
in the configuration and shape of the former. A cate- 
gory, however, is quite unanalogous to any a posteri- 
ori perception, and it is not at first sight easy to per- 
ceive how the category is to apply to intuitions. In 
every subsumtion it is manifest that the represen- 
tation conjoined must adapt itself to the conception 
under which it is to be subsumed. Thus, in the in- 
stance above given, roundness is that which assimilates 
the representations plate and circle, and enables the 
understanding to subsume the one under the other ; 
but betwixt an a posteriori representation and an a 
priori form of thought, nothing homogeneous is dis- 
cernible ; and how, it will again be asked, can the 
category, Causality suppose, be applied to sensible 
phenomena which noway resemble it ; for that must 
be actually envisaged in the singular, which is no 


more than potentially cogitated in the category. 
There must, by necessary consequence, be some mid- 
dle term which serves as a prop or fulcrum for the 
understanding, when it establishes a connection be- 
twixt phenomena and its own categories, which last 
do then become predicates of the objects thought in 

Such an intermediate representation facilitating the 
subsumtion, must assimilate itself on the one hand to 
the a priori notion, and on the other to the sensitive 
perception. A representation of this sort we find in 
Time, which, as a Formal Law of the Mind regulat- 
ing all representations of sense, is homogeneous with 
the intuitions it arranges, and also with the catego- 
ries which are formal laws of understanding. Time, 
therefore, is the middle term we seek, and by dint of 
which, the synthetic a priori propositions of physics 
are attained. 

Let us, however, try to make this statement more 
determinate and precise, by saying that the imagina- 
tion always exerts itself to supply a figure to any 
notion the understanding may happen to possess. 
Thus, when we read the Iliad, the understanding in- 
voluntarily frames to itself a notion of Homer, and 
then Fancy tries to depicture to us, conformably to 
the notion, an image of the poet. In reading a life of 
Buonaparte, whom we perchance never saw, a similar 
operation would unawares go on ; and, generally speak- 
ing, in every instance where no singular is or can be 


given, fancy endeavours to supply it. In the two 
cases just instanced, the notions were a posteriori ; 
but even when the notion is a priori, the same thing 
happens, only that whereon fancy exercises its de- 
pictive power must be a perception a priori. Hence 
to the understanding's categories, the fancy endea- 
vours to supply a sensible image. This it does by 
certain configurations and determinations of Time, 
and such sensible fixing of Time is what is called the 
Scheme or Effigiation of the Category. Of these 
schemes there are eight, not twelve ; for the categories 
of quantity and quality differ only in degree, not, 
like those of substance and modality, in kind. These 
schemes are, moreover, to be regarded as a priori 
products of fancy, and so as necessary, not as ar- 
bitrary, as when fancy, by adjoining the figure of a 
horse to that of a man, paints to itself a centaur. 
On the contrary, the effigiation is that which stamps 
a necessary unity upon Time and its contents, ena- 
bling all the perceptions of the internal sense to com- 
bine in the " /," into which focus of self-conscious- 
ness, all intuitions converge by the instrumentality of 
the categories. The instant, impressions are exhibited 
to sense, they converge toward the "/," and this instant 
convergence is what stamps ofJ) both upon them and 
their form Time, that incomplexity whereby they are 
singular perceptions, and which as a necessary shaping 
of time, i. e. of the whole sensory, into a conformity 
with the laws of the understanding, is what is fitly 


called the scheme or necessary effigiation of the cate- 

The scheme of the category extension is Time 
itself, i. e. number. In the genesis of Time, the 
mind adds successive units, in other words, generates 

The scheme of the category intensity, is Time 
considered, not in its genesis, but, when generated, as 
either a vacuum or plenum. The synthesis of quan- 
tity goes from the parts to the whole, whereas that 
of quality begins with the whole, and thence de- 
scends to the parts. This is the difference betwixt 
extensive and intensive magnitudes ; the apprehen- 
sion of a steeple is an example of the former, that of 
the tone of a harp-string of the latter. When a chord 
is struck, the synthesis or apprehension begins with 
the whole intensity of the sensation, and this grade 
may decrease down to that point where the impres- 
sion vanishes, i. e. becomes equal to zero ; in fact, it 
is only by this gradual remission that the volume of 
sound is known to be a quantum. Now, every intui- 
tion, as a phenomenon in Time, must be considered 
as occupying or filling up a certain portion of it, where- 
fore the scheme of the categories of quality or degree 
is Time effigiated, as aforesaid — thus 
Reality = Time figured as a plenum. 
Negation = Non-implement of Time. 
Limitation = Transit from the former to the latter. 

The categories of substance are effigiated upon 


the orders or modes of Time. The modes of Time are 
three, Duration, Succession, and Simultaneousness. 
Hence the notion substance is effigiated when we 
represent to ourselves, not merely a self-subsisting 
thing, but such a thing as persists throughout all 
time in space, and so is the permanent groundwork 
of certain modifications and changes. In the same 
way CAUSALITY is effigiated, not merely by cogitat- 
ing a WORKER, but by representing such an ac- 
tuating thing as antecedes in time, and upon which 
somewhat else invariably follows. The category ac- 
tion and RE-ACTION is effigiated by representing 
as co-existent the modification of the accidents of 

The scheme of the categories of modality is the 
representing of the relation, not of phenomena to one 
another, but of the relation which a phenomenon bears 
to Time itself. 

Possibility is effigiated by representing an ob- 
ject as at any time. 

Entity or Existence is effigiated by represent- 
ing an object as at some fixed given time. 

Necessity is effigiated by representing an object 
as at all times. 

The scheme qua fixing of Time a pinori, is the de- 
termining the internal sense audits form, by the "/" 
and its laws; the scheme gives objectivity to the per- 
ceptions of sense, by enabling them to be subsumed 
under an universal representation of an object in ge- 


nerCy which subsumtion is what both constitutes and 
represents the singular as the object. 

This constitution of the object-phenomenon 
may be thus otherwise expressed by saying, all 
judging is twofold, according as perceptions are con- 
joined in a mere consciousness of my state, or in con- 
sciousness whatsoever : the first judgment is subjec- 
tively-valid only, i. e. expresses singly somewhat re- 
lative to my own experienced and observed states of 
consciousness. But when perceptibles are conjoined 
in an originary " /" whatsoever, then such judgment 
or synthesis will be valid for every " /" who may 
happen to be percipient as we are, by the interven- 
tion of a sensory. A junction of this sort in original 
consciousness is universally- valid, i. e. for every *' /;" 
but universal- validity and objective-validity are equi- 
valent and exchangeable, though not identic expres- 
sions ; for if the ground of the judgment lay in the 
object and not in consciousness, then every precipient 
would be forced to have his notion of the object as 
the object occasioned it, and this objective-validity 
would be plainly universal -validity : so that, converse- 
ly, when a judgment is universally-valid from a 
GROUND IN consciousness, such judgment, — the 
universal-validity being tantamount to objective, — 
comes to be regarded as if it expressed somewhat of 
the object in itself, although, strictly speaking, it does 
so only of the object in its phenomenon, which very 


OBJECT-PHENOMENON* is moreover begotten by 
that very judgment. 


Such extraordinary debates have been raised, since Kant 
wrote, on the meaning of the word object, that a brief digres- 
sion may be thought needful ; and since, to understand object, 
an exact knowledge of what is subject is indispensable, the fol- 
lowing farther remarks on the " /" will not be found out of place. 

I AM CONSCIOUS OF MYSELF, is a thought Containing a twofold 
a /." « /" as Subject, and " /" as Object. How it is possible 
that " /" the cogitant, can become an object of my own intuition, 
and so contradistinguish mi/self from mi/self, is quite inexplica- 
ble, and yet a most undoubted fact. This does not, however, 
import any double personality ;* only I who cogitate and envi- 
sage am the person, while the " /" of the object, which " /" is 
envisaged, is, just like any other object different from myself, the 

Of the " 1" in the former signification (the Subject of Apper- 
ception), i. e. the logical " /," qua representation a ^n'oW, nothing 
can at all be known. It may be likened to the substantial which 
remains after abstraction has been made from it, of all the acci- 
dents inhering in it, yet of which I can know nothing farther, 
because the accidents were just that whereby I knew its nature. 

But the " /," in the second signification (the Subject of Per- 
ception), i. e. the Anthropological " /," qua experienced and ob- 
served states of consciousness, affords the stuff and variety for all 
knowledge, — which intuitions do however show us and things to 
ourselves only as we and they appear, and are phenomena; 
whereas the Logical " /" denotes the Subject as it is in itself in 
pure consciousness, not as receptive, but spontaneous, and admits 
of no farther increment to this knowledge of its nature. 

• Cicero, Tusc. Disp. lib. ii/c. xix. Tute tibi imperes. Quanquam 
hoc nescio, quo modo dicatur, quasi duo simus, ut alter imperet alter 
pareat : non inscite tamen dicitur. 


Suppose now, that, with Kant, we call the act of cogitation re- 
flection, and the receptivity of impressions apprehension, and 
let us further figure to ourselves both states of mind as combined 
with consciousness; then Self- Consciousness (i. e. appercep- 
tion) will fall to be divided into (1.) that of reflection, and (2.) 
into that of apprehension. The former is a consciousness of the 
understanding, the other is the internal sense itself; — that 
a priori, this a posteriori, consciousness. Psychology examines 
the last ; logic deals with the intellectual cogitant. 

This twin " /" is what has started the puzzling question, 
whether or not the various internal changes of state a man is 
conscious of, ought not to prevent him from holding himself to 
be one and the self-same person. It is, however, just as absurd as, 
and very nearly akin to, the question, if mankind have not a two- 
fold personality ? and the same answer replies to both ; for he is 
conscious of those changes only by representing himself through- 
out all those states (which affect only the sensitive " /") as one 
and the same Subject ; so that the human " /" is twain formally 
only, e. e. according to the bi-formal branches of our sensitive 
and intellectual framework ; but, materially considered, the " /'* 
is not bi-personal. 

Farther, the latter '* 1," the internal sense, is always coupled 
with an external sense ; i. e. with a consciousness of a " NOT- 
/,"* i. e. of a thing different from all my representations, and ex- 
ternal to myself; the existence of which thing different from my- 
self, and without me, being invariably conjoined with the con- 
sciousness of my own existence in time, is just as certain and in- 
dubitable as is my own existence. But how the " /" and " NOT- 
I" come to be thus co-associated, is utterly inexplicable, and yet 
neither more nor less unintelligible than that the " J" itself should 
branch off into an a priori and into an a posteriori state, seeing 
that it is only owing to the welding of the " /" with a *' NOT- 
I" that there are experienced and observed phenomena of con- 
sciousness, whereby alone it is that the latter " /" is rendered a 
posteriori, and so fitly spoken of as the internal sense. 

• Vorrede, p. xli. ; Critik, d. JR. V. (infra, p. Ixxxi. «t teg.) 


Having thus cleared up the nature of the thinking and perci- 
pient Subject, it will be the more easy to explain what it is we 
are to understand by the word object. 

All knowledge, and indeed every perception, has a twofold re- 
ference, viz. to object and to subject. In the former respect, it 
refers to the representation ; in the latter, to consciousness. Every 
thing, therefore, not consciousness is fitly spoken of as object. 
Hence not only is the " NOT- 1," and all perceptions of external 
sense, an object, but even the representations of the internal 
sense itself, whereby we perceive nothing different from our- 
selves, but only our mental feelings and states are so far forth as 
such representations differ from the pure " /," likewise objects. 

In this way it is clear that object is a very wide word. More- 
over, in addition to the above, object frequently means in Kant's 
system an intuition. The reason of this denomination is ob- 
vious, and it is in this sense that Space and Time, as singulars, 
are called objects. Farther, object often means the whole 
PHENOMENON into which the singular perceptions are combined 
by the category. In the latter sense the phenomenon is spoken 
of as the object of the intuition, although in the former sense the 
intuition is called the object of the category. 

The phenomenon, as the object of intuition, may be either a 
REAL object or a formal object, e. g. when the phenomenon 
has in it no given matter or sensation. In either case the percep- 
tibles are brought into synthetic union ; and hence the synthetic 
unity of consciousness is in any event the object of our intui- 
tions, whether the phenomenon be only formal, or moreover rea/. 
Want of attention to these different uses of the word object has 
wrought the greatest confusion among Kant's expositors. Some 
of them have overlooked the difference betwixt the inward and 
oiitward sense, whereby the existence of the external world has 
been endangered, and a dreamy idealism introduced. Others for- 
got the bi-form phase of the " /," and so were forced to identi- 
fy the a priori intuitions with the a priori notions ; all which 
monstrous figments might have been avoided, had those hasty 
writers only bethought themselves, that since by object every 
thing NOT-coNSCiousNESs may be meant, it is necessary to con- 


sider the context, in order to know which way the w«rd is to be 

The synthetic unity of consciousness is, then, — whatever else 
it may be, — always a iphenomenon formally, and thus far the ob- 
ject is constituted by being represented ; but that most assured- 
ly does not mean that the representation begets the object quoad 
existentiam. The object or phenomenon, materially considered, 
is the solidity of matter. Whatever holds true of the formal ob- 
ject, must also be true of the actual object ; for did this last not 
harmonize with the formal conditions of our knowledge, such 'mat- 
ter never could become for us any object of perception at all. 
This phrase ^/orma/ object may to some seem absurd ; but it is 
not : any geometrical solid may serve as an instance o^st. formal 
object. A cube, pyramid, or cone, regarded as a mere geometri- 
cal configuration of space, exhibits a synthetic unity, and the 
space occupied by those formal entities is penetrable. Suppose 
now these geometrical turned into real actual cubes, cones, &c. 
then is the space filled by the one, incompenetrable by the other ; 
and this sensation of resistance is the ground, the real, 
GROUND, of representing cubical or conical bodies. All the ma- 
thematical properties, however, of the bare geometric solid, hold 
true of the physical ; and thus theorems, valid for any formal ob- 
ject, may with all justice, and in truth mvist, be applied to the ac- 
tual material object. The case of any other intellectual syn- 
thetic unity,— a dynamical,* suppose,— is quite analogous to that 
of the mathematical. The geometrical, became a physical solid, 
by adding to it, the category substance, and to the formal intui- 
tion space, a material singular, i. e. one in which sensation was 
involved. Let us, however, abstract from the matter felt, and 
we have a formal phenomenon generated by a dynamical cate- 
gory. Such a synthetic unity differs from the synthetic unity 
brought forth by the mathematic categories ; but both coincide 
in this, that they are formal objects. As in the one, so in the 
other, whatever is true of the formal object, is of necessity true of 

" The categories of quantity and quality are called mathematical ; 
those of substance and modality, dynamical. 


the material. The truths of geometry held of their formal solid, 
and likewise of the real physical solid. Of the formal dynamical 
object, represented and constituted by the category substance, 
the position is {infra, p. Ixxii.) " Every phenomenon contains a 
permanent substratum," which, by parity of reason, will hold true 
of any given corresponding physical phenomenon. The unity 
generated by the categories contains all the a priori conditions, 
and nothing but the a priori conditions, of representing objects. 
The mental laws of generating a synthetic union are therefore 
the laws of representing o\i]eci& formally considered; and these 
laws will be equally valid for all material objects whatsoever. A 
whole physical phenomenon or object is therefore, \st, The sensa- 
tion, which is neither in Space nor Time ; 2d, The formal perma- 
nent, which is in bothj; and from the first and second taken to- 
gether, it is the incompenetrability of body ; and of this physical 
body, all synthetical a priori knowledge will be found true. And 
thus much with regard to the matter of the external sense, the 
Not-I as object. 

Of the Not-I we can say nothing farther, than that we are 
conscious that it exists. All that we can predicate a priori con- 
cerning it, is of it in its phenomenon ; for, leaving the external 
sense and its objects in Space, all singular perceptions whatsoever 
must, before they can be adjoined in the " /," come into the in- 
ternal sense, and be objected to the understanding under the 
form Time ; and here we have to consider how the phenomenon 
is made up by joint action of the originary and derived " /." 
Under this light alone is the question of the constitution of a 
phenomenon considered by Kant — where, however, the pheno- 
menon is not necessarily an object formally only ; for in Time are, 
so to speak, Space and its contents. And yet whatever is mere- 
ly present in the psychological " /," is so far forth subjective 
only (i.e. is not knowledge;) but, when combined in ori- 
ginal consciousness, it becomes objective, for then it is cogi- 
tated according to laws valid for every logical " I" whatsoever. 
Again, to unify perceptions in consciousness is judging. Hence 
a synthesis of singulars in the sensitive " /," is a subjective judg- 
ment only ; for it is only a judgment in the modification of my 


own private and particular state. To make such judgment ob- 
jective, it must be conjoined in the originary " /." But this 
can only be done by some one or other of the logical functions of 
judging, which represents the perceptibles, not as belonging to 
certain states of mind, whether my own or others, but deter- 
mines the perceptibles all at once, as necessarily related to a 
form of judging in genere. In effecting this, the understanding 
reduces the whole a posteriori " /" to the unity cogitated in 
one or other of the categories. Thus the form of the internal 
sense (Time) receives the stamp of the category ; and this effi- 
giation on the form of the sensitive " /" of the synthesis cogi- 
tated in the pure a priori notion, is called the scheme of the ca. 
tegory. Wherefore, we conclude, as before, that the scheme is 
that which gives objectivity to the category ; or, inversely, that 
which procures for a mere subjective synthesis, objective and 
universal validity. 

After this explanation, we run no risk of misapprehending the 
meaning of Kant's famous proposition, that, by its categories, 


THE PHYSICAL SYSTEM ; but need only to set forth those laws in 
the order of the respective categories w hence they spring. 



We shall now express verbally the originary syn- 
thetic acts of the understanding ; and these will fur- 
nish eight propositions a priori, not indeed intui- 
tive, but nevertheless as certain and necessary as any 
proposition in the mathematics ; on which eight posi- 
tions the whole of natural philosophy depends. 

I. The first position regards the category quantity. 
The elements here to be combined are, the category, 
its scheme, time or number, and an intuition to be 
subsumed by an originary representing under the ca- 
tegory. Now, since this is a procedure of the under- 
standing, by which quantity is what is predicated 
of objects, it is clear that every phenomenon has ex- 
tension, i. e. either magnitude or number. 

Ihis first synthetic a priori judgment is what 
warrants the application of mathematics and the cal- 
culus to phenomena ; and it is already proved by 
showing that the above words state merely an origi- 
nary unalterable synthesis of the understanding. 

II. Second proposition, of quality. The elements here 
represented and conjoined in the synthesis of quality,,Jirst, an impression a posteriori (for the intuitions 
a priori never are qualities), the scheme, a vacuum or 
plenum of time, and the category, which varies from 
reality to negation, according as the complement of 


time, may pass through various grades of impletiou, 
down to zero = 0, when the impression vanishes. 

Every phenomenon has intensity, i. e. a grade of 

Time is filled by sensation : L e. to become aware of 
time, I must have an a posteiimi intuition, begotten 
by an impression or sensation. The sensation itself is 
no intuition ; and we distinguish the sensation as the 
ground of an intuition, from the intuition itself: the 
sensation itself, qua mere impression, cannot be 
regarded as in Space or Time, although the intui- 
tion begotten by it is in both ; and the size of the 
sensation, i. e. the size of the ground of the intuition, 
can only be estimated by the ratio of 1 to 0. 

However faint the grade of any reality may be in 
our perception of it, still we readily admit that a still 
smaller grade exists. How weak soever the sound 
of a harp may be, or how little vivid the green I be- 
hold, we still presuppose weaker and more declining 
grades and shades of sound and light ; even though 
we diminish them away till they are no longer per- 
ceptible. Proof sufficient almost of itself alone, to 
show that this law is not derived from observation 
and experience. 

III. In respect of the categories of substance. The 
synthetic act of the understanding expressed in words 
is experience (knowledge of phenomena) is only pos- 
sible, by representing phenomena as conjoined in a 
necessary nexus. 


Impressions are nowise connected, nor do we dis- 
cover any necessity in their sequence ; but since Time 
is the form of all phenomena, and we have no mode 
of arriving at any knowledge of the existence of phe- 
nomena, except by combining them in self-conscious- 
ness, it follows that the perceived relation of pheno- 
mena in Time, is fixed and determined a priori, by 
the necessary relation in which all intuitions stand to 
self-consciousness ; but a representation a priori car- 
ries with it necessity and universality. We shall 
therefore say. All experience and observation is of ne- 
cessity fixed, according to some one or other of the 
modes of Time. 

Time has three modes. Duration, Sequence, and Si- 
multaneousness ; and all phenomena are aifected and 
determinable in one or other of these three modes, 
for either a phenomenon endures in Time, or it ensues 
upon some prior phenomenon, or else phenomena are 
represented to the mind together. . 

A. Duration. 

Amid all mutations of phenomena the substance 
endures, and its quantum suffers neither increment 
nor diminution. 

The elements to be combined are, the category 
substance and accident, the scheme, a permanent 
throughout all time in space, and an intuition. 

Time is itself a permanent, — its parts only are suc- 
cessive ; for, suppose that absolute or empty Time were 
mutable, then an ulterior time behoved to be postulated. 


in which, the former's flux might become represented ; 
and as Time is the invariable form of all phenomena, 
it is plain that there is a formal permanent in all 
phenomena, while the phenomena themselves conti- 
nually vary. Again, whatever holds of the form of 
intuitions, must hold with regard to the intuitions 
themselves, — time being in itself no direct object of 
perception, but only so far forth as it is filled by phe- 
nomena. The perdurability of time must, therefore, 
be attached to the phenomena, and must rest on 
somewhat in phenomena, which is their permanent 
substratum. Such a permanent corresponds to, and 
is called, substance. 

In effect, it is singly by cogitating substance, 
that Time itself can be represented ; i. e. the notion 
of a permanent, is the groundwork whereon rests the 
perception of Time itself; through it alone does ex- 
istence receive duration in time ; and apart from the 
representing of a permanent, the modes of time would 
themselves fall away. 

Hence we are necessitated to attribute substantia- 
lity* to the phenomena, since, otherwise, all know- 
ledge of succession and co-existence would be ren- 
dered impossible and evacuated. Farther, since the 
substance is the permanent, i. e. is that whose ex- 
istence changes not, it follows that its quantum can 
neither be added to, nor diminished ; and the changes 

* The incompenetrability of matter is the substance of the 
phenomenon. It is by virtue of this substratal solidity that it 
persists as a permanent in space. 


experienced and observed by us, to affect phenomena, 
do not refer to the substance, but singly to the mode 
and fashion of its existence. 

All phenomena, therefore, which we know, contain 
a permanent in Space {substance ^ i. e. the object); 
and a transitory {accident, i. e. the mode in which 
the permanent subsists in time).* 

]No philosopher ever attempted a deduction of this 
position before ; upon it, however, rests the old well- 
known dogma, " De nihilo nil fieri ; in nihilum nil 
posse reverti ;" a position most absolutely true and 
certain ; but which of late has been excepted at, 
through the mistaken notion, that the law militated 
against the dependence of the world on a Supreme 
Creator ; an apprehension altogether baseless, for the 
proposition refers singly to phenomena as presented 
in our experience ; and as to the actual substance of 
the universe and its relations we know nothing, but 
are totally in the dark. The law expresses nothing 
except the necessary mode in which we cogitate the 
existence of things as phenomena. 

B. Succession. 

Against Hume. 

All mutations of phenomena happen according 
to the law of the causaLnexv^. The elements to be 
combined are causality and dependence, the scheme, 
and a given mutation. 

* The EXISTENCE of the substance is called subsistence ; 
that of the accident, inherence. 


That somewhat happens, cannot be known, except 
in so far as a phenomenon have preceded, not con- 
taining the phenomenon considered in it. Every per- 
ception of somewhat as occurrent, supposes somewhat 
precedent, on which it has followed, and that too in 
such a manner that this order of sequence cannot be 
inverted. When I see a house, or other permanent, 
my apprehension of its diflPerent parts is optional, 
though successive ; and it is quite indifferent whether 
I begin from above or below, or effect the synthesis 
of its parts, backwards or forwards : the order of the 
sequence of perceptibles is in sucii event arbitrary ; and 
to this unregulated sequence, the notion cause can- 
not be applied. But if a ship drift down a stream, 
the order of the perceptibles is fixed ; and this se- 
quence cannot be inverted (for were it not fixed, then 
were no mutation given — only a subjective play of 
perceptibles in fancy). In like manner, upon frost, 
water freezes ; and this flux of events is never other- 
wise. But the flux of time is also necessary, and a 
regulated sequence, the former part of time inevita- 
bly determining the present. Again, whatever holds 
true of the form of phenomena, is rightly predicated 
of the phenomena themselves. And since this neces- 
sary sequence is just what is cogitated in the cate- 
gory causality, it follows that every mutation is, by 
virtue of the foregoing, subsumptible under the law of 
cause and effect. 

So, theo, as it is an inevitable law of the sensory, 


/. e. a formal a p?iori condition of all human per- 
ception, that every antecedent time draws after it of 
necessity the next consecutive times ; so it is 
as uncontroverted a law of our perception of a real 
succession that the phenomena of time bygone 
determine all entities in time following ; and that 
these last cannot fall out or happen except in so far 
as those fix to these their place and spot in time; 

FOR it is only upon PHENOMENA THAT WE CAN 
SELF. The understanding therefore represents any 
given mutation as a real event, by clothing it upon, 
with this particular mode or order of time ; and this 
is done by adjudging to each phenomenon, as it 
passes before sense, i. e. happens, its a priori assign- 
able spot in time, apart from which allotment, the 
phenomenon would not harmonise with time itself, 
which determines to all its parts a given and fixed 
place a priori. 

Every effect leads back to a permanent, whereby 
the effect, as a change and mutation of state, can 
alone become perceptible. But actuation by a cause 
is something which happens ; whence causality refers 
of necessity to a permanent substratum, whereon it 
rests. This justifies the application of the notions 
action and power {i. e. substance cogitated as cause) 
to phenomena, and is the only and the true gi'ound 
why " action " is regarded as the criterion of the sub- 
stantiality of the agent. 


The law of the causal-nexus can, it is clear, refer 
singly to accidents, never to substances, they being 
the perdurable. The origination and preterition of 
substances, qua effect of an intelligible cause, 
is what is called creation, a notion not admissible 
among phenomena. It consists in cogitating sub- 
stances qua things-in-themselves, under the notion 
dependency ; but this cogitation cannot be any far- 
ther defined or fixed. 

Lastly, it is to be noted, that how a mutation hap- 
pens is altogether inexplicable. 

G. Contemporaneousness. 

yill substances which co-exist as perceptibles in 
space, act and re-act mutually. 

Together are those things which in our a poste- 
riori intuition of them may reciprocally follow one 
another — a process of optional inversion that cannot 
take place with all sequences of phenomena, which last 
are upon that account subsuraptible under the notion 
CAUSE. Since my perception of the stellar system 
Jupiter may begin first at his moons, and proceed 
thence to the main star, or, conversely, may begin 
with Jupiter and end at the circum-jovial lumina- 
ries — this is the reason, viz. because the intuitions 
of those bodies may reciprocally follow — why I say 
that Jupiter and his satellites exist together. Co-ex- 
istence is the representing of the being of the mul- 
tiplex or VARIOUS at the same time. Bare time, 
however, is no object of perception ; so that we can- 


not, by finding things in the same time, thence infer 
that our perceptions of them may follow ad libitum. 
The apprehension in the Anthropological " /," would 
only show that each of the above perceptions took 
place, while the other was not in the mind, and vice 
versa; but it could not suggest to us both objects 
were together ; i. e. would not enable us to say, while 
the one, so the other, in the very self-same time, and 
that this double occupying of time must of necessity 
obtain before the perceptions could mutually exchange 
sequences. For this an a priori notion of the un- 
derstanding is indispensable, viz. a notion of the re- 
ciprocal and mutual action of things on one ano- 
ther. Consequently, our knowledge of the co- ex- 
istence of substances in Space is first of all rendered 
possible by, and depends upon, the category re-ac-^ 
TiON, which therefore we rightly predicate of all con- 
subsisting phenomena, and hold that none of them 
are isolated or unconnected. 
IV. And, lastly, Modality. 

A. Whatever coincides with the formal condi- 
tions of experience is possible. 

B. Whatever is connected with sensation, and the 
a posteriori conditions of experience, is actual. 

C. That which stands connected with the actual, 
as determined according to the universal conditions of 
experience, exists necessarily ; e. g. if the moon enter 
the earth's shadow, then it must be eclipsed. 

These eight laws regulating all observation and 


experience are fundamental laws, and so admit not of 
any proof, i. e. they cannot be deduced from any other 
proposition, otherwise they would cease to be the su- 
preme and uppermost laws of the understanding. 
Nevertheless their accuracy and justness must be 
shown ; and this has been effected by showing that 
experience is only possible in so far as these laws are 
valid. The possibility of experience depends on the 
standing identity of self-consciousness " / ;" and this 
again is only possible by the uniformity of the in- 
tellectual act whereby our spontaneity consolidates 
the stuff and variety of given intuitions into know- 
ledge. This synthetic act the understanding ope- 
rates according to its own laws, and these main laws 
of understanding, are the laws of nature, for by them 
detached perceptibles are wrought up into the phy- 
sical system. By Nature or the physical system is 
meant the whole of objects, or the aggregate of all 
phenomena, so far forth as their existence is deter- 
mined conformably to necessary laws ; and it is evident 
that the foregoing propositions are laws from which, as 
a base a priori, the whole physical system itself rises. 
But since the whole external world has been quibbled 
out of existence, we shall stop here to confute in form 
the assertion of the idealists, and so to evince , the 
truth and certainty of the second modal proposition. 

Against Des Cartes and Berkeley. 

Idealism is the theory which states the existence 
of objects in space, without us, to be either doubtful 


and unsusceptible of proof, or declares such existence 
to be a falsehood and impossible. The former is the 
idealism of Des Cartes, who allowed only " / ami'' 
to be certain and undoubted ; the second is that of 
Berkeley, who expounds space, and all the things to 
which it adheres, as their inseparable condition, to be 
in itself an impossibility; and so infers that the 
things in space are mere figments and chimeras. 
This last idealism is inevitable when space is deemed 
a property attaching to things-in-them selves, for then 
it, and every thing it conditions, is a phantasm. The 
grounds leading to this idealism have, however, been 
sapped and overturned in the doctrine of Space and 
Time just delivered. The other idealism, which 
leaves the point quite undecided, and urges only the 
mind's inability to evince an existence separate from 
our own, is reasonable, and in harmony with the spi- 
rit of a philosophic investigation, viz. not to pronounce 
peremptorily until a sufficient reason has been found. 
Since, then, both Berkeley and Des Cartes hold the 
judgment " / airC for uncontrovertibly certain, the 
best confutation will be to show that this self-con- 
sciousness of my existence in time, involves and in- 
cludes in it the immediate consciousness of the exist- 
ence of external objects. 


The naked consciousness of my own existence " in 
Tim£' demonstrates the existence of objects without 


I am conscious of my existence as somewhat fixed 
and determined in Time. Every determination of 
Time demands a permanent. This permanent, how- 
ever, cannot be an intuition in me ; for all grounds 
determinative of my existence which can be met with 
in me myself, are representations, and so require a 
permanent different from themselves, whereby alone 
can be fixed, their change and sequence, and so also 
that my Being in Time, in which they vary and suc- 
ceed. The permanent, then, cannot be any what 
within me, since my Being in Time is first of all fixed 
by it. The perception of this Permanent is conse- 
quently only possible by a thing without me, and not 
by merely representing a thing without me. The 
determination of my own state of existence in Time 
appears, then, to be only possible by the existence of 
real things which I perceive external to myself. 
Again, consciousness in Time is of necessity connected 
with the consciousness of the possibility of this deter- 
mination of Time, i. e. it stands necessarily connected 
with the existence of Things without me, qua condi- 
tions of the determining of Time, i. e. the conscious- 
ness of my own existence is also at the same time an 
immediate consciousness of the Being of Things with- 
out me. 

It may perhaps still be urged, after all, we can only 
be conscious of what is in ourselves, i. e. we are only 
immediately conscious of the representing of external 
objects, and that it is still left undecided, whether there 



be anywhat without me corresponding to this or not. 
However, I am conscious of my own existence in Time 
(and so, consequently, of its determinableness in Time) 
by my own inward experience and observation ; and 
this is saying more than being merely conscious to 
myself of my representation, although quite identic 
with the a posteriori consciousness of my being, 
which consciousness is determinable singly by a re- 
ference to somewhat external to myself, and connect- 
ed with my existence. This consciousness of my ex- 
istence in Time is hence identically linked together 
with a consciousness of a relation to somewhat with- 
out me ; and it is therefore experience, and not fancy, 
which indissolubly connects an external to my inward 
sense. In fact, external perception is in itself a re- 
ferring of the intuition to an actual without me ; and 
the reality of such perception, as contradistinguished 
from imagination, depends just on this, that it is in- 
separably linked to internal experience itself as the 
condition of its possibility. 

If I could combine with the intellectual conscious- 
ness of my existence included in the representation 
" / am" which accompanies all my judgments and 
acts of understanding, a determination of that exist- 
ence by an intellectual intuition, then no conscious- 
ness of a relation to somewhat external and different 
from myself would be required. And although un- 
doubtedly such intellectual consciousness precedes, 
yet ray inward intuition of myself, on which alone 


my existence can be determined, is sensitive, and con- 
ditioned by time, and since yet farther this determi- 
nation {i. e. inward observation and experience of my- 
self) depends on somewhat perdurable not within me, 
i. e. without me, towards which I stand in some re- 
lation, it will follow that the reality of external per- 
ception is indissolubly linked with that of the inter- 
nal, both concurring to constitute the possibility of 
experience in general ; i. e. I am as certainly conscious 
of the existence of external objects which stand in 
connection with my senses, as I am conscious that I 
myself exist in time. To which may be added this 
farther remark, that the representing of somewhat 
perdurable in existence, is not the same with a per- 
manent representation ; for this last may be very mu- 
table and changing, as are all representations, even the 
representations of matter, which, however, depend on 
somewhat permanent, which permanent must there- 
fore be an external thing, different from all my repre- 
sentations, the existence whereof is necessarily exclud- 
ed in the determining of my own existence, both to- 
gether just constituting one single experience, which 
experience would not exist at all inwardly, were it 
not also at the same time in part outward. How this 
twofold existence is conjoined, is as inexplicable as 
how we cogitate a standing permanent in Time. 

The reader will have remarked, that in the above 
line of proof the Idealist is payed back in his own 
coin. He asserted that the only immediate expe- 


rience was our inward, and that from that, we could 
only conclude upon externals, and that unconfident- 
ly, as is always the case when we conclude from given 
effects to individual causes ; and in the present case, 
the Idealist contended that the last ground of our 
perceptions might lie in ourselves, which ground we, 
by a mistake, transferred to external objects. But in 
the foregoing paragraph we have proved that outward 
experience is strictly immediate, and that singly by 
its means could be brought about, not, of course, the 
consciousness of my own existence, but the determi- 
nation of that existence in Time. It is true that the 
representation " / am" expressing that conscious- 
ness which goes hand-in-hand with every thought, is 
a perception which includes immediately the exist- 
ence of the thinking subject himself. But this 
affords as yet no knowledge of it, i. e. the bare "I AM" 
gives us no experience ; for to constitute this last there 
belongs, over and above the cogitation " Being^'^ 
some intuition in regard to which the subject can be 
determined, i. e. in Time, and for this, externals are 
indispensable; whence it results that inward experience 
is only indirect, and rendered possible by the outward. 

^^ 91? ylf * sIp 

The preceding analysis of the powers of mind af- 
fords a full and satisfactory explanation of the origin 
of the synthetic a priori truths which constitute the 
sciences of mathematics and physics. The object of 
the mathematics is the combination of Time, i. e. 


number, and the configuration of Space ; and since all 
phenomena occur in Space and Time, the relations 
and configurations of these last must be met with in 
every appearance presented in them. Hence the 
truths of mathematics hold universally of all pheno- 
mena. It is, however, obvious, that that science is 
not applicable beyond the phenomena occurring in 
Space and Time. Physics has no other end and aim 
than the fixing and ascertaining of those a priori 
laws, agreeably to which we know nature. We can 
have impressions, and can become aware of objects, 
only under the conditions of Space and Time ; and 
in the very same way the connection and relation of 
phenomena can only be understood by help of the ori- 
ginary Laws of the Understanding. If, therefore* 
Physics, i. e, a systematic arrangement of phenomena 
a prior it is to be possible to the human mind, it can 
only become such by resting on the synthetic propo- 
sitions generated by the understanding; in other 
words. Natural Philosophy is seen to be possible, 
when the causes and relation of phenomena are cogi- 
tated agreeably to the a priori rules of thought, which 
categories regulate and determine our acquaintance 
with the world of sense ; phenomena being only ad- 
mitted into the mind, conformably to the necessary 
and invariable laws of the understanding. 

From these remarks it is sufficiently apparent that 
all our knowledge and science extends to phenomena 
only, i. e. to things as we perceive them, and not in 


any wise to things-in-them selves ; and we are confin- 
ed entirely to experience and to the precincts of sense. 
There is then no transcendent use of the a priori no- 
tions, as Plato, Cudworth, and others, have imagined ; 
for while the Categories denote the mode of combi- 
nation whereby the understanding introduces unity 
amidst heterogeneous impressions, the unity can be 
effected singly by the intervention of the Scheme ; and 
apart from the Scheme no subsumption of an object 
under the Category can be effected, and the functions 
indicated by the Category could not be put into opera- 
tion. Categories have, therefore, no meaning, beyond 
that of being mere empty forms of thought, except when 
applied to impressions of experience and observation ; 
for the Scheme Time is itself in the sensory, and 
therefore restricts the exercise of the Category, and 
prevents it from going beyond the reach and extent 
of what is exhibited in the sensory. A transcen- 
dent operation of the understanding were such a one, 
where it operated, not on objects as phenomena, but 
on objects as things in themselves ; but there is no 
such function of intellect, although a very natural 
illusion might induce us to fancy, that since 
the Scheme thus visibly restrains the use and em- 
ployment of the Categories to sensible objects, 
the Categories ought to have a more extensive flight 
when the scheme is dropt, and, instead of referring to 
things as they appear, to refer to them as they are in 
themselves. But, in such a case, there would be no 


object given to which they could be applied : they 
are mere logical forms of thought, empty notions of 
an object in genere ; and as impressions are vague un- 
til subsumed under a notion, so Categories are them- 
selves blank and empty till realised by the sensory, 
which, however, at the same time, circumscribes their 

When the perceptibles presented to the mind are 
thought agreeably to the a priori conditions of our 
sensory, and to the synthetic unity of the Categories, 
then such objects are called phenomena. It cannot, 
however, be denied, that an understanding is con- 
ceivable, which might perhaps be able directly to en- 
visage objects without the intervention of a sensory 
at all ; and such objects would not be phenomena, but 
noumena, i. e. things in themselves. It is upon this 
fancy that Plato divided things into things sensible 
and things merely cogitable {mundus sensibilis, and 
mundus intelligibilis). But how situated soever 
other Intelligents may be, there are for man no enti- 
ties of the understanding ; and long experience has 
taught that, apart from the entities of our sensory, 
knowledge is denied to us. We conclude, therefore, 
that there is no world of noumena different from the 
world of phenomena which we know, a fact pretty ap- 
parent from the cogitable realms of Plato, where 
the store of impressions from his sensory is by no 
means scanty. But although a world of noumena, 
in Plato's sense, is quite inadmissible, viz. as a 


world of entities which are the objects of intellectual 
intuition; still, in a negative sense, the notion of 
noumena is not only admissible, but is in effect abso- 
lutely necessary ; for the very statement, that the 
things we behold and deal with are phenomena, forces 
us to assume somewhat lying at the back of pheno- 
mena, which cannot be again itself a phenomenon, 
but which is the thing in itself. And hence, although 
we cannot have any knowledge of objects as things in 
themselves, but singly as phenomena, still we must 
cogitate the very self-same objects as things in them- 
selves, otherwise we should arrive at the monstrous 
absurdity of holding, that there were appearances, 
without any thing which appeared ; this negative co- 
gitation of a noumenon merely serves to show that 
the sensory is not the limit of all possible knowledge, 
and reminds us that knowledge not merely sensible is 
suggestible as to its possibility. This remark comes 
to be of weight when we treat of the Ideas and Anti- 
nomies of Reason : these remind us that we have to 
do with a world only in its phenomenon, at the back 
of which aspectable system lies the world in its re- 
ality, of which we can know absolutely nothing ; in 
which cogitable world we are already, while at the 
same time we exist in a phenomenal system, objected 
to our senses, and where we are, like every thing else, 
known to ourselves only as phenomena. 




In the operations of the understanding and the 
judgment, the intellectual synthesis was attached, 
mediately or immediately, to a given singular percep- 
tion. But when the operation of the cognitive facul- 
ty is grounded on a universal as its datum, then the 
logical synthesis of perceptibles is called a syllogism, 
and the intellect is in this particular use called rea- 

Again, as the originary procedures of the under- 
standing had in the former chapter a double use, lo- 
gical and metaphysical, where the logical forms of 
judging, thrown into a notion of the intellectual syn- 
thesis of singulars, gave birth to categories ; exactly in 
the same way reason has, over and above the logical 
form of syllogising, a metaphysical or transcendental 
use, and gives birth in this capacity to the a priori 
ideas of the absolute and unconditioned. 

In a syllogism, the major is plainly the ground or 
condition assigned by reason for the conclusion. 
Reason is therefore the power of comprehending upon 
principles or last grounds. These ultimate principles, 
reason endeavours to reduce to the smallest possible 
number, thereby to arrive at the supreme rationale of 
all phenomena. This reference of phenomena to their 
last grounds, reason endeavours to accomplish in a 


threefold manner; — thus, one part of the physical 
system is, as we have seen, exhibited to us as an in- 
ternal phenomenon, by being the object of our in- 
ward intuition, and another part of nature is objected 
to our outward senses. Wherefore, 1. The idea of a 
last and absolute ground of all internal phenomena, is 
the idea of the substratum of the soul ; and this formed 
the groundwork of the metaphysical psychology of 
the schools. 2. The idea of the unconditioned of all 
external phenomena gave rise to the theories of cos- 
mology. While, 3. and lastly, Reason undertook to 
assign a last ground whence to deduce the substratum 
both of external and internal phenomena, and had 
in the idea of such ultimate and unoriginated essence 
the object of theology. 

These ideas of the unconditioned are what have 
constantly misled man to try to pierce the veil of 
space and time, and to bring about a science of the 
supersensible. But all our knowledge is of pheno- 
mena only, 2. e. of the conditioned in space and time ; 
and hence the metaphysic sciences of which reason 
projects the idea, cannot be realized by man, for from 
the conditioned to the unconditioned, the step is 
synthetic ; although, from the conditioned, analysis 
would guide as far as the condition : the question is 
then, as before. How are the synthetical a priori 
judgments on the unconditioned to be thought as 
possible ? and the answer is, that, unless an intuition of 
the absolute and unconditioned were given to be sub- 


sumed under its universal, no such science can exist, 
— a circumstance which Kant shows at length, by 
going into a detailed examination of the falsehood of 
the speculations of the old Greek and modern schools. 

This abortive philosophy we will discuss with all 
brevity, and only so far as to show the logical illu- 
sion whereby mankind have been so long beguiled ; 
adding, however, in a note, the more important heads 
of the Cosmological Antithetic, which alone, of all the 
ideas of reason, opens to us a view into a cogitable 
order of things, beyond all bounds of space and time, 
and so prepares a way, and facilitates the transit of 
the understanding from natural to moral philosophy. 

But, before embarking in this part of the system, 
it may be advisable to state how categories and ideas 
differ, and likewise to show how the ideas above enu- 
merated admit likewise of being found from the table 
of the logical forms of the syllogism. Syllogisms are 
either categoric, hypothetic, or disjunctive. Every 
major contains the totality of the conditions, whence 
the conclusion conditioned by it flows. But the un- 
conditioned alone can contain the totality of its sub- 
ordinate conditions, as, conversely, the totum of 
conditions must of necessity be unconditioned. 

Advancing in the direction of the first syllogism, 
reason impinges on the idea of the unconditioned, 
which lies at the bottom of all inherence. II. Of 
the second form of syllogism, at the unconditioned and 
absolute ground of all dependency ; and, lastly, in 


the direction of the third syllc^ism, at that idea of 
the absolutely-unconditional, whereon is grounded all 

A pure idea of the absolute and unconditional is 
therefore no more than a notion of substance expand- 
ed to a maximum ; and the difference betwixt the ca- 
tegories of substance raised by the understanding, and 
the ideas begotten in the mind by reason, is, that ca- 
tegories are anterior to all experience, and make it 
possible ; whereas ideas presuppose experience, and 
serve to cogitate the totality of its conditions. They 
discriminate betwixt the world of sense and the world 
in idea — ^its groundwork — and are laws bringing all 
phenomena under ultimate prindples. 

To realize the sciences of the unconditioned and 
supersensible, the human mind has applied its a 
priori perceptions to the ideas, and so endeavoured to 
beget knowledge a priori. Thus : 

The idea of the unconditioned, on which all acci- 
dents ultimately depend, is the idea of a substratal 
THiNG-iN-iTSELF. A scicncc of the thing-in-itself 
qua object, constituted ontology, and the science 
of the thing-in-itself g'l^a subject, constituted psycho- 

I. The old metaphysic science of ontology must be 
abandoned ; for all our knowledge is of things as phe- 
nomena, and of things-in-themselves we know abso- 
lutely nothing. When we look into any old treatise 
of ontology, we observe immediately that the author 


deals merely with universals^ and that there is indeed 
somewhat cogitated, but nothing known; it is there- 
fore an elusory science only. 

II. In precisely the same way, psychology was given 
out as the science of the substance of the human 
mind. Combining the idea of the soul as a thing-iw- 
itself, with the different categories, various conceptions 
are formed, but with regard to which, no knowledge 
is at all attainable. Thus, by subsuming the pyscho- 
logical idea under the category unity, the seeming 
judgment arises, that the substance of the soul is one, 
and that the man himself is always numerically identic. 
When combined with the notion of gradation, 
i. e. uncompoundedness, and with the category sob- 
stance, then we have the psychological dogma, the 
soul is a simple substance. From these different 
propositions come the current opinions of the soul's 
spirituality, that it is indivisible, indestructible, 
and immortal. But of the soul, all that we know 
are its phenomena. We know, indeed, that the 
" /" exists, but what the absolute soul in itself may 
be, is incomprehensible and totally unknown. The 
above positions cannot therefore be supported ; they 
cannot, however, be denied or redargued, and are 
therefore perfectly allowable cogitations, to which in- 
deed reason even seems to invite, although scientific 
insight into such a matter is utterly unattainable. 

III. Cosmology was given out to be the science of 
the world, not as the object of natural philosophy, but 


as the object of an unconditioned idea and absolute 
THiNG-iN-iTSELF. It pretended to be a demon- 
strated theory of the origination and dependency of all 
cosmical arrangements, not as phenomena, but as to 
their last and unconditioned ground. It undertook 
to prove that only one world existed, — that only one 
world could exist,— that this world was the best pos- 
sible world, — that it was caused, contingent, and 
bounded, both in regard of its extent and duration. 
But such predicates as these teach knowledge of phe- 
nomena only, and, when transferred to the idea of an 
absolute universe, found only a play of notions, to 
which no objective reality can be ascribed. But, as 
in the case of psychology, so in the present, these pos- 
sible cogitations are very fruitful and allowed, even 
while we declare all pretence to cosmological science 
an absurdity. There is, however, one very peculiar 
and striking difference betwixt the cosmological and 
the psychological idea. Reason did not afford any 
grounds for contradicting its own psychological concep- 
tions ; but in cosmology, for every statement advanced, 
reason supplies a counter-statement, and supports 
either side of this Logical Antithetic* with equally 
good arguments. Thus, when it is said that Space and 
Time have bounds, i. e. that the world in Space and 

* The cosmological debates are called by Kant the Antino- 
mies of reason, or the battle of reason with itself. Following 
the order of the Categories, the four Antinomies may be exhi- 
bited by the following table. , 


Time is not infinite, every body knows, who is at 
all acquainted with the cosmological debates, that the 

The WORLD has an origin in 
Time, and is quoad Space shut 
up in boundaries. 

The WORLD has no begin- 
ning, and no bounds in Space, 
but is, as well in regard of 
Time as of Space, illimitable. 


Every compound substance in 
the WORLD consists of simple 
parts ; and there exists nothing 
but the simple, or that which is 
compounded from it. 

No composite consists of 
simple parts ; and there exists 
nowhat simple in the world. 


There is no FREEDOM. Every 
thing in the world happens 
according to the laws of na- 

The causal-nexus, according 
to laws of nature, is not the only 
sort of causality from which the 
collective phenomena of the 
WORLD are to be deduced. It is 
requisite to assume a free causa- 
lity, in order to their satisfactory 


To the WORLD there belongs There exists no absolutely- 

somewhat which, either as its necessary Being, neither in 

part or its cause, is an absolute- the world nor out of the 

ly necessary Being. world, as its cause. 

This product of human reason is unquestionably its most ex- 
traordinary phenomenon, and is exactly what is most cogent- 


infinitude of Space and Time has been one of the 
main hobbies of the schoolmen ; the infinite divisibi- 

]y fitted to waken reason from its dogmatic slumber, where- 
in it dreams that the world in Space and Time is not an appear- 
ance, but a reality. For whenever we begin to hold that the 
phenomena of the sensible universe are real entities, and 
wlien we hold the laws of the synthesis of perceptibles to be 
laws of the things themselves, then on the instant there emerges 
the above embarrassing and unexpected dialectic, which has agi- 
tated the metaphysic schools for two thousand years, and of 
which no end was, or ever will be, attainable, because both the- 
sis and antithesis can be supported on equally solid grounds of 
reason, so long as the universe in Space and Time is mistaken 
for a world in itself. 

Now two contradictory positions are inevitably both false, 
though rigidly demonstrated, when the notion around which the 
argument revolves is itself an impossible and contradictory sup- 
position (intellectual entity). Thus the theorems, a quadrilate- 
ral circle is a curve, and a quadrilateral circle is not a curve, 
are both false, because the notion four-sided circle, which is the 
common groundwork of either, is itself a surd and impossible 

At the bottom of the two first antinomies, called mathematical, 
because they speak of the quantity and quality of the homogene- 
ous, there lies such a self-contradicting notion ; and hence we get 
rid of the difficulty by at once declaring that both Thesis and 
Antithesis are false, and say nothing. And this fundamental 
absurdity consists in transferring to the world in itself predi- 
cates which can be applied only to a world of phenomena. 

But though the two latter antinomies, called dynamical, can be 
escaped from in the same way, yet as another solution of the 
difficulty can be given, we must hold, that while the four first 
propositions are absolutely false, the four last are only hypotheti- 
cally false ; in which last case the false supposition, which makes 
them seem to be a contradiction, would consist in representing 


lity of matter, the question of freedom and necessity, 
and, lastly, the cosmogony of the world, its origin 

that which may be in harmony, as repugnant, and so both thesis 
and antithesis may perhaps be true. 

The synthesis in the mathematic categories demands neces- 
sarily, homogeneousness of the perceptibles conjoined in the ca- 
tegories ; not so the dynamic. When regard is had merely to 
tlie quantity of an extended, then all the subordinate parts must 
be similar to the whole ; but in the connection of a cause with 
an effect, such homogeneity is not demanded : the effect and the 
cause may no doubt be of like kinds, but this is not necessary ; 
at least it is not requisite to the notion of causality. 

But still, even in this latter case, were the objects of sense 
taken for things-in-themselves, and the laws of the physical sys- 
tem taken for the laws regulating the existence of real entities, 
then the above repugnancy were in any event inevitable. In 
like manner, if the Subject of Freedom is figured again as a phe- 
nomenon, like phenomenal events, then he would be at once 
subsumed under contradictory notions, and the same things would 
be at once affirmed and denied of the same object regai'ded under 
the same aspect. If, however, physical necessity is predicated 
only of the phenomena, and freedom only of things in themselves, 
then there is no repugnancy whatever, even although we hold 
or admit both kinds of causation, how difficult soever, or even 
impossible, it may be to make comprehensible a causality of this 
latter sort. 

In the sequences of phenomena, every effect is an evenly i. e. 
something which occurs in time ; and precedent to it must go, 
agreeably to the general laws of nature, a state of its cause, upon 
which it follows, according to an universal rule. But this determi- 
nation of the cause must itself be somewhat which happens or takes 
place. The cause must itself begin to act, for otherwise no flux 
could be cogitable betwixt it and its effect ; and the effect would 
have been for ever, just like its cause. There must therefore be 
found among the phenomena, the determination of the cause to 
act ; and therefore both the cause, as well as its effect, is an event 



from chaos, or whence, are notorious as the sand-banks 
on which, from time immemorial, reason in its specu- 

which again must be derived from some ulterior cause, and 
therefore physical necessity must be the condition upon which 
all efficient causes are determined. If, on the other hand, free- 
dorji is to be admitted as a property of some causes of pheno- 
mena, then it must be in respect of the latter as events, a power 
to originate these by itself alone (sponte) ; i. e. its causality does 
not itself need to begin, or be originated, so that it requires no 
further ground to determine its commencement. Now, in such 
a case, the spontaneous cause cannot stand under conditions of 
time, i. e, can be in no sense a phenomenon, but must be a thing- 
in-itself, and its effects alone can be regarded as phenomena. 
Dare we now, without a contradiction, to ascribe such an influ- 
ence upon phenomena to our understanding, then it will still be 
true that physical necessity is to be predicated of the sequences 
of cause and effect in the world of sense, whereas to that cause 
which is no phenomenon (although the groundwork of pheno- 
mena) freedom will be attributed. Necessity and freedom may 
therefore be predicated of the self-same thing, but in different 
significations ; in the first as phenomenon, in the second as a 
thing in itself. 

Now, it will appear from ethics that we have a faculty which 
is not merely connected with subjectively-determining grounds, 
viz. the physical causes of our actions, and which therefore is so 
far forth a faculty of a being which does itself rank among the 
phenomena, but is at the same time connected with objective 
grounds which are pure ideas, which synthesis is denoted by 
the word shall. This faculty is called reason ; and, in so far 
as we regard a being merely according to this objectively-deter- 
minable reason, it cannot be regarded as a mere sensitive exist- 
ent, but the aforesaid property is the property of a thing-in-it- 
self, whereof the possibility is totally incomprehensible, viz. 
how the SHALL can determine its activity, and become the cause 
of actions, the effect of which is a phenomenon in the sensible 
world. But how incomprehensible soever this may be, such 


lative course has stranded. Both thesis and antithe- 
sis are susceptible of proof, and it is in the solution of 

causality of i-eason must be, in respect of its effects in the world 
of sense, freedom, so far forth as objective grounds, which are 
ideas, are figured as determining it ; for then its acts would de- 
pend on no subjective conditions, and so on no conditions of 
time. They would also be absolved from the law of the causal- 
nexus, which regulates the sequences of events in time ; for 
grounds of reason assign rules to actions upon principles, irre- 
spective of any circumstances of time and place. 

There is, then, no contradiction in holding that all action of 
reasonable beings, so far as they are phenomena, and are met 
with in experience and observation, are subjected to the neces- 
sary mechanism of the physical system, although the very same 
action merely referred to the rational subject, and its causality 
to act upon reason, is free. For what is reqtiired to constitute 
the necessity of nature ? Nothing farther than the determinable- 
ness of every sensible event, according to perpetual and imva- 
ried laws, consequently a reference to a phenomenal cause, 
where the thing-in-itself, which is its groundwork, remains un- 
known. I say, then, the laws of nature remain, whether the ra- 
tional agent is by its reason, i. e. by freedom, cause of the ef- 
fects produced to sense, or whether its causality is determined 
upon no ground of reason at all. For if the former happen, 
then the action happens according to maxims whose phenome- 
nal eifect must at all times be subject to certain and unvaried 
laws. If the latter, and the action follow not according to prin- 
ciples of reason, then it is subjected to the laws of sense, and in 
either case the effects will follow a necessary rule. More is not 
needed for physical necessity ; and this is indeed all the knowledge 
we have of it. But in the former case, reason is the author of 
the given mechanism, and is on that account still free; in the se- 
cond the events flow along the railroad of the sensory, reason 
exercising over them no control at all, remaining equally unaf- 
fected and undetermined by the sensory, and so still free. Freer 
dom thferefore does not hinder the necessary nexus of pheno- 


this extraordinary antinomy that Kant is considered 
to have displayed his highest grade of dialectical acu- 

mena, as little as does this nexus abridge the freedom of our rea- 
son, which stands connected with things-in-themselves as its de- 
termining grounds. 

Practical freedom, that freedom in which reason possesses 
causality upon objectively determining grounds, is therefore vin- 
dicated ; and yet the physical necessity of its effects as pheno- 
mena, is not in any way impaired. Freedom and necessity are 
therefore conjungible ; for, so far as the first is concerned, every 
origin of the acting of an intelligent on objective grounds, is 
when regard is had to these determining grounds, a first be- 
ginning, although the very same action has in the flux of events 
a SUBALTERN COMMENCEMENT Only, before which a state must 
have preceded the cause, and determined even it, which state 
must again have been itself determined by the next preceding : 
from all which, it results that we can, without any absurdity, as- 
cribe to intelligents, or indeed to beings so far forth as their 
causality is determined within them as things-in-themselves, a 
power of commencing sponte a series of events. For the rela- 
tion of an act to objective grounds of reason is no relation in 
time : here that which determines the causality is quoad time not 
before the act ; for such determining grounds represent no refer- 
ence of objects to sense, and so not to causes in their phenome- 
non, but represent determining causes as things in themselves 
which stand under no conditions of time. Hence an act may 
be in respect of the causality of reason a first beginning, while 
yet, in respect of the sequences of phenomena, it is no more than 
a subordinate commencement, and so be, without any contradic- 
tion, in the first respect free ; but in the second, as mere phe- 
nomenon, fettered by the law of the causal-nexus. 

As for the fourth antinomy, it is cleared up and explairied in 
the same manner; for when the cause qua phenomenon is 
contradistinguished from the cause of phenomena, so far 
forth as this last may be a thing-in-itself, then both propositions 
may consist together ; and the thesis would mean, that of the 


men. A sketch of this dialectic is given in the note 
beneath, where the table and accompanying remarks 

sensible world, no cause (regulated by like laws of causation) is 
to be found, whereof the existence is absolutely necessary, and 
the antithesis would then mean that this world is notwithstand- 
ing related to a necessary Being as its cause (a cause, however, 
different in kind, and exempt from the law of the causal se- 
quences of phenomena), the incompatibility of which two asser- 
tions depends entirely on the misunderstanding of extending 
what holds only of phenomena to things-in-themselves, whereby 
we mix up and confuse both in one foggy idea. 

Kant's inference from this table of antinomies is, that since 
it is quite impossible to escape from such a labyrinth of rea- 
son, so long as the objects of sense are mistaken for things- 
in-themselves, and are not recognised to be, as they truly are, 
phenomena, this debate and dialectic of reason seems to have 
been implanted in the mind, for the very purpose of telling us, 
that the world we have to do with in these debates is a pheno^ 
menon, and to force our cogitations beyond the sensible into 
the supersensible ; and here we see the entire consistency and 
coherence of Kant's system in all its parts. The clue to escape 
from the labyrinth was given us in the discovery that Space and 
Time are forms of phenomena, and the conclusions then arrived 
at, from an analysis of the lower power of sense, that we know ob- 
jects only so far as they appear to us, is now corroborated by 
the separate and independent investigation just instituted into 
the nature of reason. Nay, the solution of the dialectic, while 
it confirms the results obtained from the inquiry, How is ma- 
thematics possible ? has helped us on a step to the science of 
ethics, since, by speaking of freedom, a vista is opened into 
the supersensible, and the transit is already prepared from the 
mere speculative to practical metaphysic, and to an inquiry 
into the a priori operations of the will ; and thus the cosmologi- 
cal debates, long deemed the stronghold of the Sceptic and the 
opprobrium of reason, are now seen to be the understanding's 
highest metaphysic good. 


are taken from the Prolegomena, p. 142. The brief 
limits of this Introductory Outline compel me to re- 
quest my reader to take the arguments 'pro and con 
for granted ; but indeed they are generally to be found 
in any Encyclopedia {voce Metaphysic). The point to 
be observed is, that Kant declares both positions equal- 
ly tenable : the reason of which is, that both sides of 
the question proceed on a common mistake, to wit, 
that of holding the world objected to sense to be a 
thing in itself, instead of, as it really is, a phenome- 
non. The debate and seeming antagonism of rea- 
son with itself is therefore avoided, by duly discrimi- 
nating betwixt the phenomena and their groundwork, 
and taking heed that we do not transfer to the uncon- 
ditioned, predicates, which hold only of the conditioned. 
Of such vital consequence was the distinction with 
which we first set out, viz. the ideality of Space and 
Time as mere forms of phenomena, — a doctrine which 
led, by necessary consequence, to the further assump- 
tion of an existence somewhere, of the same things, not 
as phenomena in Space and Time, but as existencies 
beyond all bounds of Space and Time whatever, in a 
world of absolute and unconditioned reality. Hence 
the theory of Space and Time is a doctrine of the 
supersensible negatively considered, while cosmology 
does in its third and fourth antinomy deliver a doc- 
trine of the supersensible positively. But this posi- 
tive SUPERSENSIBLE IS only as yet problematically 
THOUGHT, not assertively known. It is only by 


the help of ethic that the understanding achieves 
its passage from the speculative knowledge of the sen- 
sible to a practicable knowledge of the supersensible. 
All the metaphysic taught and sketched under this 
head can therefore be regarded as no more than 

IV. Theology pretended to be the science of the 
Godhead, so far as pure reason could examine this. 
It was usually opposed to revealed theology, whose 
source was supposed to fall altogether beyond the 
sphere of reason. The three methods of argument 
which reason took to bring about a science of this 
idea, were the ontological, the cosmological, and the 
physico-theological arguments. But the ontological 
argument may be considered as dismissed, when, as 
previously stated, ontology is itself an impossibility ; 
and the same remark holds with regard to the cos- 
mological argument. Only the third is worthy of 
examination : it founds on the order and design ob- 
servable in the material universe, and infers the final 
causes for which, and the origin ary cause by which, 
all things were founded. Here, however, as before. 
Theologians have overstrained the inference. It does 
not follow that this Intelligence, which is observable, 
must have been the originator of the matter of the 
universe. The argument is only valid to support the 
conclusion of a highly wise and skilful Architect. 

The result of this whole inquiry into the reach and 
extent of the human understanding, is, that specu- 


lative reason is utterly unable to support any one 
proposition which has hitherto been advanced in on- 
tology, psychology, cosmology, or theology. 


PART 11. 

(Critik der reinen praktischen Vernunft.) 



As perceptions were divided into singular and uni- 
versal, so every determinator of choice is either a sin- 
gular or an universal one. That singulars are exhibit- 
ed by sense, we know ; universals, by the understand- 
ing. These denote a rule ; and when the universal 
is raised by the understanding itself, the universal 
a parte priori is a rule a priori, i. e. is a law. 
When the starving cannibal falls upon his victim 
and devours him, his choice is determined by the sin- 
gular hunger ; but the representations of reason are 
general, never singular. The causality of reason is 
called will, and the function of reason, whereby it as- 
signs universal determinators to choice, is just this 
practical causality, whence it results that the will and 
practical reason are identic. Suppose now that free- 
dom is a real idea, viz. that freedom is just reason's, 
i. e. the will's self-consciousness of its own practical 
spontaneity as a thing-in-itself, then may the 
idea freedom be explained as an universal law in the 
abstract ; and since this law refers to actions, it is a 
PRACTICAL LAW, or, in other words, and as it is com- 
monly called, the moral law. The idea of an uni- 
versal practical law in the abstract, when thrown into 
words, may run in the following tenor : Act from a 
nujuvim (i. e. a general determinator) at all times Jit 
for law universal. 


But we must now endeavour to represent this legis- 
lation as actually obtaining a priori. In every case 
where reason begins to act, it annexes to actions 
the predicates " righV and " wrongs* and this is a 
necessary and universal operation of thought. The 
notion right refers manifestly to law ; and the predi- 
cate " rectitude" can be annexed to an action, in con- 
sequence only of such action being subsumed under 
some law or other, and judged of as in harmony or 
at variance with it. Again, we remark that the law to 
which actions are referred as a standard, is cogitated 
as applicable to every rational being ; and the rule 
" thou shalt not promise falsely,'' is valid not only 
for man, but reason cannot even figure to itself any 
Intelligent throughout the universe at liberty to de- 
ceive. Such a rule of conduct is, therefore, recognised 
not only as necessary, but as possessing likewise uni- 
versal extent ; arid the legitimacy here predicated of 
truth has both necessity and universality, i, e. is a 
priori, and is no perception taken from observation 
and experience. That reason enjoins every Intelli- 
gent (i. e. itself) to act rightly, i, e. conformably to 
an ideal practical law, is from the foregoing to be 
inferred ; and since the law, being a priori, has ob- 
jective and universal validity, the formula expressing 
it may be thus couched : " So act that the maxim of 
thy will might be announced as law in a system of 
universal iiwral legislation. That this moral law 
is a synthetic proposition a priori is obvious, and 


every man has, however darkly, an unchanging and 
necessary perception of it ; so that the question recurs 
as before, how is such synthetic a p?iori proposition 
possible. But in the former paragraph we took oc- 
casion to show, that were the idea freedom real, 
which transplants us at once into the supersensible 
system, then this law would necessarily flow from 
it, as a corollary ; and since we have here expounded 
the necessity and universality of the law, we conclude 
regressively upon freedom of will as the alone idea 
whence we can comprehend the origin and constitu- 
tion of the imperatives of reason, and apart from 
freedom, which establishes a synthesis by making 
mankind a member of two worlds {Chap. Hi. of the 
Groundwork), the synthetic a priori propositions of 
morality cannot be explained. 

To almost every intellectual representation theref 
corresponds an emotion of the sensory. Thus to the 
representing of the mathematical extent of the firma- 
ment, responds the emotion of the sublime ; to other 
perceptions, the emotion of the beaiitifu/. To the 
immediate representing of the moral law corresponds 
in the sensory the emotion of reverence : and reverence 
is begotten in the sensory when the moral law is it- 
self the sole and unconditionate determinator of the 
will ; and this reverence is the spring or mobile of 
will. (Chap. V.) Reverence for law is, however, 
identic with reverence for a man's own self; the 
law being in fact only the dictate of his own rea- 


son, and, which is observable, the law itself gains more 
easy entrance into the mind from the actual positive 
worth it gives a man in his own eyes, and the reve- 
rence it makes him feel for his humanity, now at length 
conscious of its supersensible dignity and freedom. 
Upon this emotion of self-reverence every good senti- 
ment and disposition may be grafted; and when a 
man dreads nothing so much as the risk of falling 
under his own contempt, and of finding himself sunk, 
upon examination, under the ban and self-damnation 
of his own reason, then is such state and frame of 
mind the only and the best guard man can have 
within, against the inroad of ignoble and defiling 

This reverential determination of will is, however, 
only Jbrmal ; for the law is nowhat except the limi- 
tation of the will to the conditions of harmony with 
the idea of law whatsoever, A positive determina- 
tion of will, and one which is material, must there- 
fore enter ; for no will can be devoid of ends. But in 
this case the end must be assigned to the will by the 
law itself, otherwise, were the end chosen without re- 
gard had to the law, the determination could not be 
moral ; an end ordained by the law to be willed is 
what is called good. 

But as, for every series of conditions, reason, in its 
speculative use, demanded the unconditioned to give 
systematic unity to its cogitations ; so, in its practical 
use, reason extends its notion of the good to a maxi- 


MUM : and under the name of summum bonum rea- 
son figures to itself the last end and aim of all its 
exertions, and insists on knowing, or at least cogitat- 
ing the unconditioned exit all its good actions are to 

Now, the end aimed at by reason is absolute mo- 
rality, or entire conformity with the law ; and the 
end aimed at by the sensory is happiness. These 
are by no means inconsistent, and the union of those 
two as a TOTUM is the last object reason projects as 
assigned to it ; but yet, in such a manner, that he 
only who by morality is worthy of happiness, should 
become a partaker of it. 

The EXACT CONFORMITY of the WILL with the 
LAW is called holiness: this conformity must be 
regarded as possible, it being no more than what is 
commanded. But holiness is an ideal of rea- 
son, and a representation of a maximum, to which 
nothing adequate can be found as a phenomenon : in 
other words, no sensitive existent can at any point of 
time exhibit this required coincidence ; and still, since 
reason unremittingly calls for the realization of its ideal 
standard of perfection, the law must be understood 
as meaning that man has continually to advance in 
an infinite progression towards its realization — which 
series, when regarded as exhausted, may amount to 
an expression tallying with the formula of the law ; 
and the principles of practical reason make it neces- 
sary for man to postulate as real this unbroken and 


perpetual progression for ever onwards. But an in- 
creasing approximation of this sort is only possible on 
the supposition of the continued existence of the 
agent himself, called the immortality of his soul. 
Whoso, therefore, determines his will conformably 
to the law, must, when he reflects on the end aimed 
at in such volition, postulate for that behoof the con- 
tinued existence or immortality of his thinking part. 
But an opinion which a man adopts upon grounds 
not objective, but subjective only, is not knowledge, 
but a belief: the morally minded man is, therefore, 
a believer in the immortality of his soul. 

For the same reason, he believes in God, as a per- 
son upholding a moral order of things, and who will 
assist him to realise that junction betwixt morality 
and happiness, which man perceives himself unable at 
any point of time to effect. Practical reason repre- 
sents a bent of will regulated upon the law, as the 
worthiness to become happy, and so cogitates a syn- 
thesis a priori betwixt virtue and happiness. Again, 
to bring about such an impartial, disinterested ad- 
justment, he postulates a last ground somewhere esta- 
blishing this harmony and necessary dependence of 
happiness on morality. Now, since the laws of na- 
ture effect no such establishment and connection, 
and man has himself no control or power over the 
physical system, he postulates or believes a Supreme 
Cause establishing this connection : i. e. mankind 
observes that the summum bonum is only conceiv- 


able by presupposing a causality superior to nature, 
and different from it, dealing out happiness and 
misery in exact proportion to desert and guilt. This 
distributive allotment plainly requires that this cau- 
sality superior to nature must be guided in his deci- 
sions by the representation of the law, not only to 
square the actions of other intelligents, but also that 
his own award may be consistent with the requisi- 
tions of the law. But such a person is plainly the 
ETHICAL LEGISLATOR himself, i. 6. IS GoD. The 
ethically minded is hence likewise a believer in the 
existence of a Sovereign Creator and Moral Governor 
of the World, But this faith in immortality, and in 
the being of his God, is no knowledge at all about 
the matter. These two articles in the credenda of 
reason express merely our conviction, that somehow 
or other the summum bonum will be eventually re- 

Thus, ethic issues in religion, by presenting the 
will with a new kind of determination, and one 
which is no longer Jbrmal ; and since the moral law 
is involved in the conception of the summum bonum, 
the determination of the will by the idea of the ele- 
ments of the summum bonum is quite disinterested, 
although it involves a prospect of happiness. But 
the two points of religious belief are quite free and 
unextorted.* There is no constraint, or obligation, or 

* Kant's Preisschrift, p. 115-117. 


compulsion to assent to either of them ; and this 
ethical belief is called ethico-theology. The 
belief in this ethico-theology possesses in itself 
a moral worth ; and does, by its re-action on the sub- 
jective principles of morality within, quicken and en- 
liven the practical growth of moral conduct, and so 
entitles mankind to give to such ideas practical in- 
fluence on his determinations, as if he received them 
from a given object.* 

The result of this whole inquiry into the reach and 
extent of the a priori operations of the Will is, that, 
for a practical behoof, 1. a belief in God as the 
Upholder and Administrator of the moral law is suf- 
ficiently established ; 2. that freedom, as a super- 
sensible causality and unconditioned Might of the 
Human Will to execute its duty, is an idea whose 
REALITY has been proved; and, 3. that a belief in 
IMMORTALITY, as a State where mankind's weal and 
woe will be found adjusted in due proportion to his 
ethical worth or uuworth, is likewise inevitable. Of 
these three ethical Ideas of the Supersensible, the 
reality of freedom alone can be apodictically demon- 
strated; but since they make up a system among 
themselves, the real truth of any one being given, 
draws after it a solid conviction of the real truth of 
the others. 

That is to say, the idea God belongs to ethics alone, 

♦ Preisschrift, p. 135. 


not to physics, or to any part oi formal metaphysics ; 
consequently there is an ethical argument for the ex- 
istence of a moral lawgiver, and an ethical belief of 
the same, after whicht the physico-theological 
{strictly teleological) argument may be used and 
listened to. 



The exact sciences bear the most imcontroverted 
witness to the light, stability, and fixity of the works 
of reason ; and hence they found not only the hope of 
achieving still farther systems of synthetic a priori 
knowledge, but they are likewise the exemplar and 
pattern of the necessary evidence and certainty upon 
which every system pretending to be a science ought 
to be fashioned. 

The metaphysic just expounded claims to be such 
a scientific system, and the reader must have noted 
with what fidelity it is trained to follow in the foot- 
steps of its forerunners ; for the inquiry into the a 
priori operations of the mind consisted in solving 
these two questions : 

(1.) How is mathematics possible ? 

(2.) How is physics possible ? 
these two sciences being the undoubted and ac- 
knowledged operations a priori, wherein to the in- 
quiry desires to search. And the answer, that Space 
and Time are intuitions a priori, satisfied the demand 
made in the former; while the exhibition of the 
categories in answer to the latter explained how the 
physical system itself was possible, and so how a phi- 
losophy of nature arose. Up to this point, the whole 
investigation was manifestly a priori ; and as it was 


neither mathematical nor yet physical, and yet alto- 
gether a parte priori, such science is a system of a 
primi knowledge quite peculiar, and sui generis, i. e. 
in one word, is transcendental philosophy, or meta- 

The inquiry into what the understanding does 
when it brings about a science, teaches what ought 
to be done in order to bring about any farther science 
which may perhaps still be a desideratum ; and in this 
way having detected the latent and deeply hidden 
functions of thought exerted in establishing a science, 
and manifested only by that its marvellous and re- 
splendent effect, Kant was enabled to cause a new 
science to step forward into sight, the Science of Ethics, 
which he fashioned in every point, after the light, and 
stability, and evidence of those others, when he threw 
out the third question, viz. How is a categorical im- 
perative a priori possible ? This ethic is, however, 
itself metaphysic, being only a shoot from the roots of 
metaphysic laid open by those prior disquisitions. 

The system of metaphysic ethic is now laid before 
the reader ; and the falsehood of every other system 
of metaphysic, which may usurp the name of science, 
will become patent, when this standard test is brought 
to bear upon it,— How is synthetical a priori 
KNOWLEDGE POSSIBLE : for the fiiture metaphysic 
must first confute Kant's answer to the question. 
How geometry and physical science are attained ; it 
must next give a different and satisfactory answer to 


those questions, and so pave the way for the march of 
the new coming metaphysic. Where this is not done 
{and in a case of this kind, silence is confession), 
the system must needs of necessity be false ; and the 
advantage of knowing this beforehand is, that hence- 
forward mankind may spare themselves the lost time 
and trouble of reading theories like those of Fichte, 
Schelling, Hegel, or Herbart, which, being founded 
on wilful mistakes, keep moving ever after thjough a 
sad labyrinth of inextricable errors. 











There is nothing in the world which can be termed 
absolutely and altogether good, a good will alone ex- 
cepted. Intellectual endowments, wit, and extent of 
fancy, as also courage, determination, and constancy in 
adhering to purposes once formed, are undeniably good 
in many points of view ; but they are so far from being 
absolutely good, that they are qualities capable of being 
rendered bad and hurtful, when the will, under whose 
control they stand, is not itself absolutely good. With the 
bounties of fortune it is no otherwise ; power, wealth, ho- 
nours, even health, and those various eleinents which go to 
constitute what is called happiness, are occasionally seen 
to fill the mind with arrogance, and to beget a lordly and 
assuming spirit, when there is not a good will to control 



their influence, and to subordinate them, by stable maxims 
of conduct, to the final scope and end of reasonable agents. 
Nay, so paramount is the value of a good will, that it 
ought not to escape without notice, that an impartial 
spectator cannot be expected to share any emotion of de- 
light from contemplating the uninterrupted prosperity of 
a being whom no trait of a good will adorns. And thus it 
would appear, that, reason being judge, a good will con- 
stitutes a prior condition, without which no one is deemed 
worthy to be happy. 

There are qualities which greatly aid and strengthen a 
good will ; but they have not any inward worth of their 
own, and will be found always to presuppose a good will, 
which limits the praise they deservedly carry, and prevents 
us from regarding them as absolutely and in every respect 
good. Temperance, self-command, and calm considera- 
tion, are not only good for many things, but even seem to 
compose part of the worth of personal character. There 
is, however, much awanting to enable us to designate them 
altogether good, notwithstanding the encomiums passed 
upon them by the ancients. For, apart from the maxims 
of a good will, they may be perverted ; and a calm, re- 
solute, calculating villain, is rendered at once more dan- 
gerous and more detestable by possessing such qualities. 

Ilstf A good will is esteemed to be so, not by the effects 
which it produces, nor by its fitness for accomplishing any 
given end, but by its mere good volition, i. e. it is good in it- 
self; and is therefore to be prized incomparably higher for 
its own sake, than any thing whatsoever which can be pro- 
duced at the call of appetite or inclination. Even if it 
should happen that, owing to an unhappy conjuncture of 
events, this good will were deprived of power to execute 


its benign intent, still this good will (by which is not 
meant a wish) would, like a diamond, shine in itself, and 
by virtue of its native lustre. Utility or uselessness could 
neither enhance nor prejudice this internal splendour: they 
resemble the setting of a gem, whereby the brilliant is 
more easily taken in the hand, and offered to the atten- 
tion of those not otherwise judges, but which would not 
be required by any skilled lapidary to enable him to form 
his opinion of its worth. 

fi • Still this idea of an absolutely good will, and the state- 
ment just advanced of its unconditioned worth, quite ir- 
respective of any considerations of its expediency or con- 
duciveness to use, startles the mind a little, and gives birth 
to the suspicion that these opinions may be founded only 
on some phantastic conceit ; and that we mistake the end 
proposed by nature, when we imagine that reason is given 
to man as the governor of his will — ^by its sway to consti- 
tute it altogether good. 

To make this matter as clear as possible, let it be re- 
membered that it is a^undamental position in all philo- 
sophy, that no— mean s are employed, except~tKose only 
most appropriate and conducive to the end and aim pro- 
posed. If, then, the final aim of nature in the constitution 
of man {i. e. a being endowed with intelligence and will) 
had been merely his general welfare and felicity, then we 
must hold her to have taken very bad steps indeed, in 
selecting reason for the conduct of his life ; for the whole 
rule and line of action necessary to procure happiness 
would have been more securely gained by instinct than 
we observe it to be by reason. And should her favoured 
creature have received reason over and aboA^e, and in 
superaddition to its instincts, such gift could only have 


answered the purpose of enabling it to observe, admire, 
and feel grateful for the fortunate arrangement and dis- 
position of the parts of its system ; but never of subject- 
ing the appetitive faculties to the weak and uncertain 
guidance of the contemplative. In a single word, nature 
would have taken care to guard against reason's straying 
into any practical department, and would have prevented it 
from daring, with its scanty insights, to project any schemes 
of happiness, and to sketch plans for attaining them. 
Both end and means behoved, on this supposition, to have 
been determined exclusively by nature, and to have been 
intrusted to instinctive impulses implanted by herself. 

So far is this, however, from what is in fact observed, 
that the more a man of refined and cultivated mind ad^ 
diets himself to the enjoyment of life, and his own studied 
gratification, the farther he is observed to depart from true 
contentment : and this holds true to so great an extent, 
that some have acknowledged they felt a certain hatred of 
reason, because they could not conceal from themselves, 
that, upon a deliberate calculation of the advantages aris- 
ing from the most exquisite luxuries, not of the sensory 
merely, but likewise of the understanding (for in many 
cases science is no more than an intellectual luxury), they 
had rather increased their sources of uneasiness than really 
made progress in satisfactory enjoyment ; and felt inclined 
rather to envy than think lightly of those inferior condi- 
tions of life, where man comes nearer to the tutelage of in- 
stinct, and is not much embarrassed by suggestions of 
reason as to what ought to be pursued or avoided, — a cir- 
cumstance furnishing us with a key to explain the senti- 
ments of those who state at zero the pretences of reason 
to afford satisfaction and enjoyment, and enabling us to 


understand that they do so not out of spite or Aigratitude 
towards the benign Governor of the world, but that there 
lies at the bottom of so rigid and severe a reckoning, the 
idea of a far higher and nobler end aimed at in man's exist- 
ence ; and that this it is, not happiness, for which reason 
is bestowed, and in exchange for which all private ends 
are to be renounced. 

For, since reason is insufficient to guide the will so as 
to obtain adequate objects of enjoyment and the satisfac- 
tion of all our wants, and innate instinct would have 
reached this end more effectually, and yet reason is be- 
stowed on man as a practi cal faculty of action, i. e. such 
a faculty as influences his will and cTibice, it remains 
that the true end for which reason is implanted, is to pro- 
duce a will good, not as a mean toward some ulterior end, 
but good in itself. This will is to be considered, not the 
only and whole good, but as the highest good, and the 
condition limiting every other good — even happiness ; 
and in this case it quite coincides with the intentions of 
nature, that a high cultivation of reason should fail in 
producing happiness, this last being under the condition, 
i. e. subordinated to the production, of the first, viz. a 
good will, which is the absolute and unconditional scope 
and end of man ; and yet, that in so failing, there should 
be no inconsistency in the general plan of nature, because 
reason, re^ognisingits-deatined use tojconsist in the foun- 
daUion^fa_gpod will, is only susceptible of a peculiar satis- 
faction, viz. the satisfaction resulting from the attainment 
of a final end, given alone by reason, and given indepen- 
dently and witRouT~respect to the objects proposed by 
inclination. In order to explain tlie conception of a good 
will, so highly to be prized in and for itself (and it is a \ 



notion common to the most uncultivated understanding), 
which it is alone that makes actions of any worth, we 
shall analyse the jnotion jliity ; a notion comprehend- 
ing undeFTrihat of a good will, considered however as 
affected hy certain inward hinderances 5 hut these last, str- 
far from ohscuring the radical goodness of the volition, 
render it more conspicuous hy the contrast* 

In proceeding to examine the cognate notion Duty, I 
omit all actions confessedly at variance with it, how 
expedient soever, and useful, and conducive to this or that 
end ; for, with regard to them, no question can he made, 
whether they have heen performed out of duty, it being 
already admitted that they collide with it. I also leave 
out of this investigation actions which are in accordance 
with duty, but are performed from some by-views or 
oblique incentives of appetite and inclination ; the dif- 
ference cannot be overlooked when an action is performed 
upon motives of private interest, and when upon a dis- 
interested principle of duty ; but the difference is not so 
easily detected when an action is in harmony with the 
requirements of duty, and the agent is likewise at the 
same time strongly biassed by the constitution of his na- 
ture to its performance. Thus, it is consonant to duty 
that a merchant do not overcharge his customers ; and, 
wherever trade flourishes, every prudent trader has one 
fixed price, and a child can buy as cheaply as any other 
person. In this way the public are honestly dealt by ; 
but that does not entitle us to hold that the trader so acted 
out of duty, and from maxims of honesty ; his own pri- 
vate advantage calledfor this line of conduct ; and it were 
too much to suppose that he was so charitable as to deal 
fairly with all comers, out of pure benevolence ; in which 


case his conduct resulted neither from a principle of duty, 
nor from affection towards his customers, hut from self- 
love and a view to his own advantage. 

Again, to preserve one's life is a duty ; and, indepen- 
dently of this, every man is, by the constitution of his sys- 
tem, strongly inclined to do so : and, upon this very ac- 
count, that anxious care shown by most men for their 
own safety is void of any internal worth ; and the max- 
im from which such care arises is destitute of any moral 
import {i. e. has no ethic content). Men in so far pre- 
serve their lives conformably to what is duty, but they do 
it not because it is so ; whereas, when distress and secret 
sorrow deprive a man of all relish for life, and the suffer- 
er, strong in soul, and rather indignant at his destiny than 
dejected or timorous, would fain seek death, and yet es- 
chews it, neither biassed by inclination nor by fear, but 
swayed by duty only, then his maxim of conduct posses- 
ses genuine ethic content. To be beneficent when in one's 
power is a duty; and, besides this, some few are so 
sympathetically constituted, that they, apart from any 
motives of vanity or self-interest, take a serene pleasure 
in spreading joy ai'ound them, and find a reflex delight 
in that satisfaction which they observe to spring from 
their kindness. I maintain, however, that in such a case 
the action, how lovely soever, and outwardly coincident 
with the call of ^duty , is entir ely devoid of true mora l 
worth, and r ises no higher than actio n s founded on o ther 
affections, e. g. a thirst for glory, which happening to con- 
cur with public advantage, and a man's own duty, enti- 
tles certainly to praise and high encouragement, but not 
to ethic admiration. For the inward maxims of the man 
are void of ethical content, viz. the inward cast and bent 


of the volition to act and to perform these, not from incli- 
nation, but from duty only. Again, to take a farther case, 
let us suppose the mind of some one clouded by sorrow, 
so as to extinguish sympathy, — and that though it still re- 
mained in his power to assist others, yet that he were not 
moved by the consideration of foreign distress, his mind 
being wholly occupied by his own, — and that in this condi- 
tion he, with no appetite as an incentive, should rouse 
himself from this insensibility, and act beneficently purely 
out of duty,^ — then would such action have real moral 
worth; and yet further, had nature given this or that 
man little of sympathy in his temperament, leaving him 
callous to the miseries of others, but, instead, endowed 
him with force of mind to support his own sorrows, and 
so induced him to consider himself entitled to presuppose 
the same qualities in others, would it not be possible for 
such a man to give himself a far higher worth than that 
of mere good nature ? Certainly it would ; for just at 
this point all worth of character begins which is moral 
and the highest, viz. to act beneficently, irrespective of 
inclination, because it is a duty. 

To secure one's own happiness is indirectly a duty ; for 
dissatisfaction with one's lot, and exposure to want and 
penury, might easily become occasions of temptation to 
overstep the limits prescribed by duty ; but, prior to and 
apart from all considerations of duty, mankind have a 
strong and powerful appetency to their own happiness 
(happiness being in fact the gratification of all the ap- 
petites whatsoever), only the access to this happiness is so 
rugged and toilsome, that in passing along it, many appe- 
tites, with their gratifications, have to be surrendered; and 
the sum total of the gratification of all the appetites call- 


ed happiness is a notion so vague and indeterminate, that 
we cannot wonder how one definite and given appetite 
should, at such time as its inebriate gratification is possi- 
ble, entirely outweigh a faint conception (of happiness) 
only obscurely depicted in the mind. Hence we under- 
stand why a patient with gout chooses to satiate his appe- 
tite, and then to suflFer as he best can ; for, in his general 
estimate, the present enjoyment appears equal to his ex- 
pectation (perhaps groundless) of some general happiness 
called health. But even in such a case as this, where the 
bent of inclination does not excite to secure happiness as 
consisting mainly in health, still the command of rea- 
son remains to promote one's own health, not because 
man likes it, but because it is his duty; in which last 
case alone his actions have any moral worth. 

It is thus, without all question, that we are to under- 
stand those passages of Scripture, where it is ordained 
that we love our neighbour, even our enemy ; for, as an 
affection, love cannot be commanded or enforced, but to 
act kindly from a principle of duty can, not only where 
there is no natural desire, but also where aversion irresis- 
tibly thrusts itself upon the mind ; and this would be a 
practical love, not a pathological liking, and would con- 
sist in the original volition, and not in any sensation or 
emotion,of the sensory ; a practical love, resulting from 
maxims of practical conduct, and not from ebullitions and 
overflowings of the heart. 

2d, The second position is, that an action done out of 
duty has its moral worth, not from any purpose it may 
subserve, but from the maxim according to which it is 
determined on ; it depends not on the effecting any given 
end, but on the principle of volition singly. That the 


end aimed at in a given action cannot impart to it abso- 
lute moral worth, is, from the foregoing, plain. Wherein, 
then, consists this value, if it is not to be placed in the re- 
lation of the will to its effected action ? It can consist 
only in the r elation betwixt th e will and the ^ principle or 
maxim^according to wHich the volition was constructed, 
and this apart from all regard had to any ends attainable 
by the action, for the will lies in the midst betwixt its 
formal principle oprtore, and the material appetites apos- 
teriori ; and since the choice must be determined by some- 
thing, the principle a priori alone remains, all a posteriori 
considerations being taken away when actions are to be 
performed from duty only. 

3c?, The third position results from the two preceding. 
Duty is the necessity of an act, out of reverence felt for 
law. Towards an object, as effect of my own will, I may 
have inclination, but never reverence ; for it is an effect, 
not an activity of will. Nay, I cannot venerate any incli- 
nation, whether my own or another's. At the utmost I 
can approve or like. That alone which is the basis and 
not the effect of my will can I revere ; and what subserves 
not my inclinations, but altogether outweighs them, i. e. 
the law alone, is an object of reverence, and so fitted to be 
a commandment. Now, an action performed out of (propter) 
duty has to be done irrespective of all appetite whatsoever; 
and hence there remains nothing present to the will, except 
objectively law,^ and subjectively pure reverence* for 

• Perhaps some may think that I take refuge behind an obscure feel- 
ing, under the name of reverence, instead of throwing light upon the 
subject by an idea of reason. But although reverence is a feeling, it is 
no passive feeling received from without, but an active emotion gene- 
rated in the mind by an idea of reason, and so specifically distinct from 
all feelings of the former sort, which are reducible to either love or fear. 


it, inducing man to adopt this unchanging maxim, to yield 
obedience to the law, renouncing all excitements and emo> 
tions to the contrary. 

The moral worth of an action consists therefore not 
in the effect resulting from it, and consequently in no 
principle of acting taken from such effect ; for since all 
these effects (e. g. amenity of life, and advancing the well- 
fare of our fellow-men) might have been produced by 
other causes, there were no sufficient reason calling for 
the intervention of the will of a reasonable agent, wherein, 
however, alone is to be found the chief and unconditional 
good. It is therefore nothing else than the representation 
of the law itself — a thing possible singly by Intelligents — 
which, and not the expected effect, determining the will, 
constitutes that especial good, we call moral, which re- 
sides in the person, and is not waited for until the ac- 
tion follow. 

What I immediately apprehend to be my law, I recognise to be so with 
reverence, which word denotes merely the consciousness of the immediate, 
unconditional, and unreserved subordination of my will to the law. The 
immediate determination of the will by the law, and the consciousness of 
it, is called reverence, and is regarded, not as the cause, but as the effect, 
of the law upon the person. Strictly speaking, reverence is the repre- 
sentation of a worth before which self-love falls ; it cannot, therefore, be 
regarded as the object of either love or fear, although it bears analogy 
to both. The object of reverence is therefore alone the law, and in par- 
ticular that law which, though put by man upon himself^ is yet not- 
withstanding in itself necessary. As law, we find ourselves subjected to 
it without interrogating self-love ; yet as imposed upon us by ourselves, 
it springs from our own will ; and in the former way resembles fear, in 
the latter love. Reverence, even when felt for a person, results from 
the law whereof that person gives us the example (Cato, of integrity). 
If to cultivate talents be a duty, then we figure to ourselves a learned 
man, as if he presented to our view the image of law, enjoining us to be 
conformed to his example, and thus our reverence for him arises. What 
is called a moral interest, is based solely on this emotion. 


But the question now presents itself, What kind of law 
is that, the representation of which must alone determine 
the will, if this last is to be denominated absolutely and al- 
together good ? Since I have deprived the will of every 
spring resulting from obedience to any one given parti- 
cular law, there remains nothing except the form of 
law in general, which can serve as the mobile of the will ; 
which ideal legality, reduced to words, is couched in the 
following formula : " Act from a maxim at all times fit for 
law universal." Here nothing is expressed except gene- 
ral legality (dispensing with any particular law pointing 
to any given act), which serves the will for its determin- 
ing principle, and which must in truth do so, unless the 
whole notion of duty is to be abandoned as chimerical 
and absurd. The above position is in entire unison with 
the notices of the most untutored reason ; and the princi- 
ple of universal fitness is, however darkly, ever present 
to the mind. A few examples will set this beyond doubt. 

Let the question be put, if, when in difiiculty, I may 
not promise, although determined to act otherwise than I 
say, — and every one will at once see the vast distinction 
betwixt an inquiry, whether or no it be prudent, and 
whether it be right {i. e. conformable to laws of duty), 
to promise deceitfully. That it were cleverly done is quite 
conceivable ; nay, it would require much adroitness, since 
it were not enough, by this evasion, to secure for once 
my by-ends and interests, but it would be requisite to 
ponder the posterior disadvantages, and to study whether 
the consequences of this deceit might not issue in depriv- 
ing mankind of all confidence in me, — an evil perhaps 
gi-eater than that from which I proposed rescuing myself. 
So that it might be needful to consider if it were not, 


even in point of prudence, better to act from a maxim pos- 
sessed of universal fitness, which could serve me for ever, 
and to adopt the principle, nev^er to promise apart from 
the intention to perform. But still, in this latter event, 
it is obvious that the maxim were based on an apprehen- 
sion of the troublesome consequences attendant on decep- 
tion ; and it is quite different to adhere to truth out of a 
principle of duty, and to adhere to it from an apprehen- 
sion of unpleasant sequents. In the former case, the very 
notion of speaking truth involves in it its own law, com- 
manding how to act ; the second compels me to look be- 
yond the action, to ascertain how I may be affected by it. 
For, when I swerve from the principle of duty, I know 
for certain my action to be evil ; but if a maxim of pru- 
dence (expediency) only be departed from, I cannot tell 
whether the result may not fall out highly conducive to 
my advantage, although the safer plan were to abide by 
it. Now, in order to know whether a deceitful promise 
consists with duty, I put the question, Can I will my 
maxim (to free myself from embarrassment by a false 
promise) law, in a code or system of universal moral le- 
gislation ? and the answer is, that the thing is impossi- 
ble ; for it were then vain for any one to say what he 
would do, others not believing the declaration, and repay- 
ing one another after the same fashion ; consequently 
my maxim, if elevated to the rank of law, would become 
self-destructive and inconsistent, i. e. unfit for law uni- 

• What, therefore, I have to do, in order that my volition 
be morally good, requires no great acuteness. How in- 
experienced soever in the course of external nature, I 
only ask, Canst thou will thy maxim to become law uni- 


versal ? If not, it is to be rejected, and that not on ac- 
count of any disadvantages emerging to thyself and others, 
but because it is unfit for law in a system of universal 
moral legislation. For this potential legislation, reason 
forces me to entertain immediate disinterested reverence. 
And though we do not yet descry on what this emotion 
is founded, still we understand thus much of it, that it is 
the representing a worth far transcending the value of 
whatever is addressed to appetite and inclination ; and 
that the necessity of an act out of pure reverence for the 
law, is that which constitutes duty, before the represen- 
tation of which law every other mobile recedes; that 
being the condition of a will good in itself, the worth 
of which is above all. 

And now we have evolved the principle whereon de- 
pend the common ethic notices we find mankind gene- 
rally possessed of; a principle not of course cogitated in 
this abstract form, but which is notwithstanding, how 
darkly soever, always at hand, and made use of daily by 
all mankind in their common practical opinions and judg- 
ments. The task were easy to show how, with the aid 
of this principle for a compass, reason can in every instance 
steer for good and evil, and all this without teaching man- 
kind any thing new or unknown ; provided only, as Socra- 
tes did, we made reason attentive to her own latent opera- 
tions ; and consequently, how we stand in no need of sci- 
ence or philosophy to know what it behoves us to do that 
we may become honest and good, nay, even wise and vir- 
tuous. This might have been surmised from the nature 
of the case, that an acquaintance with what was to be 
done, which for that reason it concerned every man to 
know, would have lain at the door of the most common 


person. Nor can we sufficiently admire how the practi- 
cal and active powers of man are so much more easily ex- 
ercised than we find the same powers to be in their theo- 
retic and speculative use ; for whenever untutored rea- 
son ventures upon this last, and quits the field of expe- 
rience and observation, she gets involved on the instant 
in the incomprehensible, and becomes entangled in her 
own operations, or, however, errs through a labyrinth of 
inextricable doubt and uncertainty. But as soon as man 
has for a practical end excluded all a posteriori motives 
(every mobile taken from experience and observation) 
from the action of the moral law, then it is that his rea- 
son, all untutored as it may be, shows itself in the great- 
est vigour ; it becomes even subtile, and chicanes with its 
own conscience as to the demands of duty, or sometimes 
may seek for its own instruction to determine accurately 
the worth of actions, and, what isilhe point to be observ- 
ed, may expect to do so as successfully as any sage ; nay, 
may solve such practical questions better ; for the philoso- 
pher can, after all, have no other principles to proceed on, 
than what the unlettered aud vulgar have ; and his deci- 
sion stands in hazard of being biassed by a multitude of 
foreign considerations, and so of deflecting from the right 
road to truth. And this leads us again to the further 
question, if, since all this is so, it were not better to leave 
these ethic notions unphilosophized upon ; at least to 
bring in the aid of science only to make the system more 
complete, or to assign rules for the purpose of polemical 
debate ; but not to employ it for any practical behoof, 
and so distort the common sense of mankind from its 
native innocence and simplicity. 

Innocence is indeed invaluable, but then it does not 


know how to defend itself, and is easily seduced. Hence it 
comes, that even wisdom (which consists not in knowledge, 
so much as in what man practically pursues and avoids) 
stands in need of aid from science, not to learn any thing, 
but to procure an inlet and stable foundation for her de- 
crees. Man feels within him a mighty counterpoise 
against those edicts of duty which reason represents to 
be so highly august and venerable ; a counterpoise arising 
from his physical wants and instincts, the aggregate gra- 
tification of all which he calls happiness. Reason, how- 
ever, unremittingly issues her inexorable command, and 
holds out to the appetencies no prospect or promise of any 
sort ; and so seems to disregard and hold for nought their 
tumultuous and yet plausible claims, although these are 
not put to silence by the law. From this there results a 
dialectic within a man's own self, i. e. a propensity or 
proneness to quibble ikvay these rigid laws of duty; at 
least to raise doubts as to their extent and severity, and to 
shape them, if possible, into a form coinciding with man's 
appetites and wants ; that is, in other words, to corrupt 
at the source the fountain of duty, and to tarnish and 
cloud all its dignity, which, however, again reason comes 
to revolt at, and disapproves. 

We see, then, how it happens that even unlettered and 
vulgar reason is forced to step from home, and enter the 
fields of practical philosophy ; not certainly to satisfy a 
speculation (by no fit of which the reason of the vulgar, 
so long as he is sane, is at any time invaded), but in or- 
der to be resolved as to her practical doubts, and to gain 
information there as to the origin and foundation of her 
own principles, and to be enabled to fix their weight and 
importance, when contrasted with those other maxims 


which rest siugly on appetite and want, and so to be ex- 
tricated from the double embarrass caused by these two- 
fold claims, and shun the hazard of making peril of ge- 
nuine ethic principles. And as reason, in its speculative 
use, fell into a dialectic with itself, in the same way we 
find that the practical reason, even of the unlettered, ar- 
rives unawares at the same antagonism with itself. Nor 
can either the one or other hope to attain security and re- 
pose, except by instituting an accui*ate inquiry into the 
reach and extent of their own a priori functions and ope- 




Hitherto we have investigated the notion duty, as we 
found it occurring in everyday practice ; but it must not 
on that account be fancied that we have been occupied 
with a mere a posteriori notion. On the contrary, when 
we attend to what experience teaches of the conduct of 
mankind, we hear many complaints, the justice of which 
we must admit, that no certain instance can be adduced, 
of actions flowing from the inward bent of the will, to 
act singly out of regard to duty ; since, even in the cases 
where an action is quite in accordance with what duty 
would demand, experience and observation leave it entirely 
in doubt how far the action emanated from a principle of 
duty, and so possessed any moral worth. Accordingly 
philosophers have at all times been found who denied the 
real existence of such inward dutiful intent, and who 
have insisted on ascribing all to self-love ; not that they 
called in question the accuracy of the idea of morality, 
but regretted rather the frailty and improbity of human 
nature, which, while so noble as to start from the con- 
templation of so highly reverend an idea, was at the same 
time too weak to keep moving in its track, and employed 
reason, the legislator and governor of the will, to no other 
end than to adjust and settle the discordant claims of 
appetite and passion. 


So little, in fact, is this notion borrowed from experience 
and observation, that it is utterly impossible to assign 
any instance where the maxims Oi an action outwardly 
conformable to duty rested singly upon moral grounds, 
and flowed directly from the representation of its law : 
and although there are unquestionably cases where, after 
the severest self-examination, we can discover nothing but 
the ethic sway of duty sufficiently mighty to have moved 
the will to this or that action, and to such vast self-de- 
nials ; still we are unable to conclude that self-love may 
not have co-operated with the law, or that somewhat as- 
suming the place and likeness of duty may not, after all, 
have been the real determining ground of acting ; where- 
upon we falsely ascribe to ourselves the nobler motive, 
although in point of fact the most sifting scrutiny cannot 
carry us into those secret springs. Since, where question 
is made of the moral worth of a person, the question turns 
not on what we see, but on the inward principle regulat- 
ing the causality of the will ; and to this no experience 
and observation can extend. 

It is impossible to do a greater service to those who 
laugh to scorn the idea of absolute morality, as fantastical 
and absurd, than to admit that duty and its cognate no- 
tions are a postermri^ and taken from observation and ex- 
perience (a position extended by some, out of sheer indo- 
lence, to all perceptions whatsoever) ; for then we prepare 
for them a certain triumph. I am ready to grant that 
the major part of our actions coincide with duty : on exa- 
mining, however, the aim and designs of mankind, self 
is generally found predominant, and actions spring from 
self, not from the stern law which in most cases ordains 
self-denial. Nor need he be deemed an enemy to virtue. 


bat a calm observer simply — not inclined to mistake his 
good hopes of mankind for the reality he wishes — who 
may at times be led to doubt whether genuine virtue is 
anywhere to be found throughout the world ; and, in 
such a state of things, nowhat can guard against our to- 
tal apostacy from the idea duty, and uphold in our soul 
reverence for its law, except the clear insight — that 
even although there never yet were actions emanating 
from this pure source, that cannot affect the question : 
since we do not now inquire what phenomena may in 
fact happen, but whether or not reason, irrespective of all 
phenomena, legislate for herself, and ordain what ought to 
happen ? i. e. whether reason do not unremittingly call for 
conduct, whereof perhaps the world never yet saw an ex- 
ample, and the practicability of which would be doubted 
or denied by those who advance singly on experience and 
observation ? — and the consequent conviction that, — dis- 
interested friendship (for example) is not the less justly 
expected from mankind, although possibly there may never 
yet have been any moral friends, — friendship being a duty 
indicated as such, independently of and prior to all expe- 
rience, and given with the idea of a will determined a 
priori upon grounds of reason. 

Again, when it is added, that unless whei'e morality is 
totally denied, no one doubts that its law is figured to be 
of catholic extent, and valid, not adventitiously or con- 
tingently, but absolutely and necessarily, and that not 
merely for man, but for every intelligent nature ; such 
universality and necessity reminds us at once that no ex- 
pei'iment or observation could even suggest to us the 
possibility of thinking such an apodictic legislation. Nor 
rould we have any right to bring into unlimited reverence, 


as an edict addressed to every Rational, a law dependent 
on the particular and accidental structure of humanity ; 
nor could we hold laws determining our will, for laws 
determining all wills, regarding them in fact on this last 
account alone as likewise laws for us, were their origin 
in experience and observation, and were they not entire- 
ly originated by the pure a priori spontaneity of practical 

Nor can morality fall into the hands of worse defenders 
than when it happens into the hands of those who attempt 
to found it on examples ; for every example given to me 
of it must first be compared with a principle and stan- 
dard of morality, to know if it be worthy of being elevat- 
ed to the rank of an archetype or pattern, and so of course 
cannot originate in us the notion. Even the Holy One 
in the gospel is only recognised to be so when compared 
with our ideal of moral excellence. So much is this the 
case, that he himself said. Why call ye me (whom ye see) 
good ? there is none good (the archetype of it) but God 
only (whom ye do not see). Whence this idea God, as the 
supreme archetypal good ? singly from that idea of ethical 
perfection, evolved by reason a priori, and connected by 
it indissolubly to the notion of a free will. Imitation has 
no place in morals- Examples serve only to encourage 
to moral practice, — to put beyond doubt the possibility of 
performing those duties unremittingly commanded by the 
law, — and to exhibit to sense, in a tangible and outward 
substance, what the legislation of reason expresses only in 
the abstract and general ; but their use is perverted when 
their original in reason is overlooked, and conduct regu- 
lated upon the model of the example. 

If there be no genuine and supreme principle of mora- 


lity given apart from all observation and experience, and 
resting upon reason only, then I think it were idle so 
much as to inquire if it were 'good to treat these a priori 
notions, and to deliver their principles in the abstract ; un- 
less indeed we merely wished to separate betwixt the com- 
mon ethic notions of the unlettered, and a system of them 
which might aspire to be called philosophical. And yet 
in the present age this last may well be necessary ; for 
were we to collect voices as to whether a popular practi- 
cal philosophy, or metaphysic of ethics (t. e. rational cog- 
nition divested of every a posteriori part), were more eligi- 
ble, I know full well on which side I should find most 

To accommodate a science to the common conceptions 
of the people is highly laudable, when once the science 
has been established on first principles ; and that, in the 
present case, would amount to founding ethics on tlieir 
true basis, metaphysics ; after which a popular dress may 
carry and spread the science more widely; but to attempt 
such a thing in a first investigation is folly. Not only 
would such procedure have no claim to the signal and 
rare merit of true philosophic popularity, but it would 
lie open to the objection of amounting to no more than an 
odious and revolting mixture of random remarks, crude 
and half-fledged opinions, — a mad attempt, which would 
furnish the shallow with materials to talk of and quote in 
conversation, but which could only embarrass the more 
profound, who, dissatisfied, avert their eyes, and remain 
unaided ; although those who see through the illusion are 
little listened to when they insist on the abandonment of 
a futile popularity in order to become then only popular 
when clear and definite insight has been attained. 


To illustrate this remark, it were only requisite to exa- 
mine popular modern treatises which have been got up 
in this taste, and we find at one time the destiny of 
man, which is particular, at another, the idea of an intel- 
ligent nature, which is general, — here perfection, there 
happiness, — then somewhat of the moral sense, and of the 
fear of God, — all mixed up in one huge heterogeneous mass. 
But nowhere do the authors seem to have impinged upon 
the cardinal question, whether principles of morality were 
to be sought for in the psycology of human nature ? (which 
we know only from experience and observation), — or whe- 
ther, if this be not the case, they are not to be met with 
wholly a priori in pure ideas of reason, and nowhere else ? 
Nor did it ever occur to them, in this last event, to com- 
mence an investigation of these first principles, as a par- 
ticular and separate department of philosophic science, 
called, if I may be allowed the expression, " metaphysic* of 
ethics," — to isolate and keep it by itself, in order to ex- 
haust and complete its entire circuit and extent, — divert- 
ing in the mean time a public impatient for popularity till 
the issue and conclusion of the investigation. 

Such a system of metaphygic ethics, isolated and clear- 
ed of all theology, anthropology, physics, hyperphysics, 
and occult qualities, which I may call hypophysics, is not 
merely a substratum indispensable for all theoretic know- 
ledge in the department of duty, but is likewise a main 

" As pure mathematics and logic are distinguished from the same 
sciences when mixed, the pure philosophy of morals (metaphysic of 
ethics) may be distinguished from the " mixed" i. e. when applied to hu- 
man nature and its phenomena. Such an appellative reminds us that 
the principles of ethics cannot be founded on any peculiarity in man's 
nature, but must demand an establishment a priori, whence will flow a 
practical rule of life valid for all Intelligents, and so for man likewise. 


desideratum towards the actual fulfilment of its law ; for 
the naked representation duty, unadulterated with any 
foreign charms, in short the moral law itself, is so much 
stronger a mobile to the will than any other motive, that 
reason first learns by this method her own causal-force 
and indepe ndency on every sensitive determinator ; until 
at lengthft(!waking fully to the consciousness of her own su- 
premacy and dignity, she scorns to act from any such, and 
comes in the sequel to be able to control and to command 
them ,• which things a system of ethics, not defecated from 
the emotions of the sensory, cannot effect; for there the 
mind is at once perturbed by opposing causes, and is for- 
ced to waver betwixt feelings and ideas which cannot be 
reduced to any common principle, and is accordingly, ow- 
ing to this instability and uncertainty, led sometimes 
wrong — sometimes right. 

From the above it is clear that all ethical ideas have 
their origin and seat altogether a priori in reason (in the 
reason of the unlettered, of course, as much as in that of 
the most finished sage), that they are not susceptible 
of explanation upon any a posteriori system ; that in this 
highjonm source consists their dignity and title to be su- 
preme practical principles of life; thatihe addition of any 
posteriori motive lessens their native force upon the will, 
and destroys to that extent the absolute unconditioned 
worth of the action ; and that it is absolutely necessary, in 
adjusting the speculative theory of ethics, as well as of the 
last practical importance in the conduct of life, to deduce 
the laws and ideas of morality from naked reason, to deliver 
these pure arid unmixed, and to examine and exhaust the 
whole circuit of this originary science of reason {?• e. to 
ihvestigate the a priori functions and operations of reasonj 



as a practical faculty of action) : in which investigation 
we cannot, as in speculative philosophy, examine the par- 
ticular operations of the human reason, but are forced to 
examine reason as such, abstractedly and apart from the 
nature of man ; the moral law having ethical virtue to 
oblige all will whatsoever, and so demanding a deduc- 
tion from the abstract notion of intelligent existence. 
And in this way alone can ethics (which, in their applica- 
tion to man, stand in need of anthropology) be fully clear- 
ed and purged of this last, rendered a pure philosophy, 
andsofit to be prelected on as an entire metaphysic science; 
bearing, the while, well in mind, that, apart from possess- 
ing such metaphysic, not only is it vain to attempt to de- 
tect speculatively the ethical part of given actions, but 
that it is impossible, in ethical instruction {i. e. in the most 
common practical case), to base morality on its true foun- 
dation, to eflfcctuate genuine moral sentiments, and deter- 
mine the mind, by the idea of the summum bonum, to ex- 
ert itself onwards toward the advancement of the general 
welfare of humanity. 

Now, to advance in this investigation from the common 
opinions, Avhich are highly venerable, to the philosophi- 
cal, as was done in the former chapter, and from that 
popular tentative philosophy which I have just denoun- 
ced, up to a system of metaphysics containing no a pos- 
teriori part, and rising in its course even to ideas where 
all examples fall away, it is needful to pursue reason in 
its active function, from its general law of determina- 
tion, up to that point where the notion duty is evolved. 

Every thing in the world acts according to laws ; an 
Intelligent alone has the prerogative of acting according 
to ihc representation of laws, i. e, has a will : and since 


to deduce actions fi*om laws, reason is required, it follows 
that will js_ii othing e lse than practical reason. When 
reason invariably determines the will, then the agent's 
actions which are recognised as objectively necessary, are 
subjectively necessary too ; that is, tHe will is then a fa- 
culty to choose that only which reason, independently 
on appetite, recognises to be practically necessary, i. e. 
good. But if reason do not itself alone determine the 
will, and the will be subjected to inward impediments 
and stimuli not always in unison with the law, — in one 
word, if reason and the will do not exactly tally (as is 
the case with man), — then are the actions recognised as 
objectively necessary, subjectively contingent ; and the de- 
termination of such a will, conformably to objective laws, 
is necessitation ; that is, the relation obtaining betwixt 
objective laws and a will not altogether good, is repre- 
sented as the determining an Intelligent's will upon 
grounds of reason, but to which the will is not by its na- 
ture necessarily conformed. 

The representation of an objective principle, so far as 
it necessitates the will, is called a commandment (of rea- 
son) ; and a formula expressing such is called an impe- 

All impei'atives are expressed by the words " shall or 
ought,'' and thus denote the relation obtaining betwixt 
an objective law of reason, and a will so constituted as 
not to be necessarily determined by it (necessitation). 
They say that somewhat were good to be pursued or 
avoided, but they say so to a will not always acting be- 
cause it is represented to him that somewhat is good. 
That is practically good which determines the will by the 
intervention of a representation of reason, i. e. not by 


force of subjective stimulants, but objectively, i. e. upon 
grounds valid for every Intelligent as such. In this respect 
the good differs from the agreeable,* which last affects the 
will by means of subjective sensations, valid for the parti- 
cular taste of individuals only ; not like a principle of rea- 
son, which is possessed of universal validity. 

A perfectly good will would, equally with a defective 
one, come to stand under objective laws (of good) ; but 
with this difference, that it cannot be regarded as neces- 
sitated by the law to the legal action, — its very nature be- 
ing such as to render it capable of determination only by 
the representation of what is good. Hence no imperative 
is valid for the Divine Will, nor indeed for any will figur- 
ed to be Holy. Thou shalt were misapplied to such a will 
— the will being already spontaneously in harmony with 
the law. An imperative is then no more than a formu- 
la, expressing the relation betwixt objective laws of vo- 
lition and the subjective imperfection of particular wills 
(e. g. the human). 

* The dependency of the will on sense is called appetite, and it al- 
ways indicates a want or need ; but the dependency of the will on prin- 
ciples of reason is called an interest. This last obtains, therefore, only 
in a dependent will, not spontaneously conformed to reason. To the Di- 
vine Will no interest can be ascribed ; the human will may take an inte- 
rest in an action, without on that accoimt acting out of interest ; the 
first is the practical interest taken in an action ; the second would be the 
pathological interest taken in the end aimed at by the action. The former 
indicates merely the dependency of the will on reason as such; the se- 
cond dependency on rational principles subserving an appetite, i. e. where 
reason assigns a rule how the wants oi appetite may be best appeased. In 
the first case, the action interests me, in the second the object of the ac- 
tion (in so far as agreeable). We saw in the former section, that in an 
action out of duty, the interest lay not in the object and end attained by 
the action, but singly in the act itself, and its principle in reason (». c. 
the law). 


An imperative commands either liypotlietically or cate- 
gorically. The former expresses that an action is neces- 
sary as a mean toward somewhat further; but the latter 
is such an imperative as represents an action to be in it- 
self necessary, and without regard had to any what out 
of and beyond it, i. e. objectively necessary. 

Because every practical law represents some action or 
another as good, it represents it to a being determinable 
by reason, as in so far necessary ; and hence, upon this ac- 
count, an imperative may be further explained to be a for- 
mula potentially determining an action deemed necessary 
by a will good in any sort of way. If the action be good 
only for somewhat else, i. e. as a mean, then the impera- 
tive is hypothetical ; but if represented as good in itself, 
t. e. necessary according to the principles of a will self- 
conformed to its own reason, then it is categorical. 

An imperative, then, declares which of the actions I 
may have it in my power to perform is good ; and it 
presents to view a practical rule taken in connection 
with a will, not constantly choosing an action because it 
is good, and this for two reasons : in part, that it often 
does not know what action is good ; and also in part, 
because, when it knows this, its maxims militate against 
the law objected to the mind by reason. 

A hypothetical imperative expresses merely the relative 
goodness of an act, viz. as good for some ulterior end, re^ 
garded either as in posse or in esse. In the prior case it 
is a problematic ; in the latter, an assertive position. But 
the categorical imperative which propounds an act as in 
itself objectively-necessary, independently of every far- 
ther end or aim, is an apodictic practical position. 

But as it may be needful to investigate more in detail 


the nature and constitution of these three kinds of im- 
peratives, I observe, 

First, We may consider whatever the power of an agent 
may accomplish, as the potential end of his will ; whence 
there spring as many principles of action as ends, which 
the being may regard as necessary in order to gain some 
given purposes. Even the sciences have a practical part, 
consisting of problems demanding a solution, and of im- 
peratives announcing how such solution (the end) is to 
be effected ; and imperatives of this kind are imperatives 
of art. Whether the end be good or rational, is no ele- 
ment of the investigation, but simply this — what it is re- 
quisite to do in order to reach it. The recipe of a phy- 
sician for thoroughly re-establishing his patient, and that 
of an assassin for poisoning him, have this value in com- 
mon, viz. that of teaching surely how each may gain his 
end ; and since mankind do not know what ends may oc- 
cur in life, youth is taught as many things as possible, 
and care is taken to advance his skill and accomplish- 
ments so as to facilitate the practice of various ends, though 
no end can yet be fixed on as the fit choice of the youth 
himself — among which ends he is left to choose, since 
it may be presumed that some one of them will be his. 
Nay, this care is frequently so great, that mankind ne- 
glect to instruct their youth how to estimate the worth 
of those things they have ultimately to accept or decline 
as ends. 

Secondly, There is, however, one end, which we con- 
clude that every finite being has, and that by the physical 
necessity of his nature, viz. the end and aim called happi- 
ness. The hypothetical imperative announcing the prac- 
tical necessity of an act as a mean for advancing one's own 


Imppiuess, is assertive. The imperative is necessary, not 
for any vague, indefinite, unknown end, but for one which 
we can certainly presuppose in the case of every man, such 
end being engrafted into his very Being. Now adroitness 
in choosing the means conducing to the greatest amount 
of one's personal happiness, is prudence (in the limited sense 
of that term) ; whence it follows, that the imperative of pru- 
dence, referring to the choice of such means, is hypotheti- 
cal, i. e. the action is ordained, not absolutely on its own 
account, but as a mean toward somewhat ulterior. 

Lastly, There is an imperative, Avhich, irrespective of 
every ulterior end or aim, commands categorically. Such 
imperative concerns not the matter of action, nor that 
which may flow from it, but its form and principle ; and 
the act's essential goodness consists in the formality of its 
intent, be the result what it may. This last imperative 
may be called one of morality. 

The difference of the volition in these threefold impera- 
tives is perceptible when we attend to the dissimilar 
grades of necessitation expressed by the imperative ; and 
in this point of view they might, I think, be fitly called, 
1. rules of art; 2. dictates of prudence; 3. laws (com- 
mandments) of morality: for law alone involves the con- 
ception of an unconditionate, and objective, and univer- 
sally valid necessity; and a commandment is a law to 
which, even with violence to inclination, obedience must 
be yielded. A dictate expresses likewise a necessity, but 
then it is no more than a subjective and conditioned one ; 
whereas the categorical imperative is restrained to no 
condition, and it can alone, as absolutely necessary, be a 
commandment. The first sort are technical, the second 
pragmatic, the third ethical imperatives. 


This brings us to the question, how all these imperatives 
are possible, — a question which asks, not how they may 
be reduced to practice, but how the necessitation expressed 
in each imperative can be depicted to the mind. How an ; 
imperative of art is possible, requires no further explana-| 
tion. Whoso wills the end aimed at, wills also th^ 
means indispensably requisite for attaining it. This posi- 
tion is analytic, for in willing an object as my own effect, 
I represent my own causality as employing the means 
toward it ; and the imperative merely developes the con- 
ception of acts necessary to this end, out of the concep- 
tion " willing that end itself." To determine the means 
requisite for attaining the end may no doubt be difficult, 
and will require synthetic propositions ; but these do not 
concern the ground, the originary act of will, but respect 
singly the realization of its object. That in order to bi- 
sect a line with certainty, I must describe from its extre- 
mities segments of intersecting circles, is taught in the 
mathematics by synthetic propositions only ; but when I 
know that these steps must take place in order to that end, 
then it is an analytic proposition to say, that when I will 
the end, I will also the intervening steps ; for to repre- 
sent somewhat as an effect possible by me in a given 
way, and to represent myself as acting in that way to- 
ward the effect, are quite identical. 

The imperatives of prudence would stand exactly in the 
same situation with those of art, were it alike easy to 
frame a definite conception of what is happiness ; and in 
either case we should say, he who wills the end, wills 
likewise all the means toward it, which are within his 
power. But unfortunately the conception happiness is so 
vague, that although all wish to attain it, yet no one is 


ever able to state distinctly to himself what the object 
willed is ; the reason whereof is, that the elements consti- 
tuting the conception happiness are cognizable a poste- 
riori only, and must be inferred inductively from expe- 
rience and observation; while at the same time, as an 
ideal of imagination, happiness demands an absolute whole^ 
i. e. a maximum of well-being, both in my present and 
every future state ; and what this may in real fact and 
event amount to, no finite Intelligent can explain, nor 
can he tell what it is he chooses in such a volition. Is 
wealth the object of his desire ? how much envy and de- 
traction may that not entail upon him ? in what perturba- 
tions may that not involve him ? Are superior parts and 
vast learning the object of his choice ? such advantages 
might prove but a sad eminence whence to descry evils 
at present hidden from his sight ; or they might become 
a source of new and previously unknown wants, and he 
who should increase in knowledge might eminently in- 
crease in sorrow. Does he choose long life? whatif it should 
turn out a long misery ? or, even if health were his cho- 
sen object, must he not admit that indisposition has often 
guarded from excess and screened from temptations, into 
which exuberant health might have misled him ? In short, 
it is quite beyond man's power to determine with certainty 
what would make him happy. Omniscience alone could 
solve this question for him. In these circumstances, 
man can fix on no determinate principles of conduct issu- 
ing in happiness, but is forced to adopt such dictates of 
prudence, i. e. such maxims of economy, politeness, and 
reserve, as experience and observation show on an aver- 
age to promote the greatest quantum of well-being. From 
all which we infer, that, strictly speaking, imperatives of 


prudence do not command, actions not being i*epresented 
by them as objectively necessary ; and that they are ra- 
ther to be regarded as suggestions {consilia)^ than as de- 
crees of reason. The question, what action would infallibly 
promote the happiness of a reasonable agent, is altogether 
unanswerable ; and there can consequently be no impera- 
tive at all with regard to it. However, if the mean to- 
ward happiness could be successfully assigned, the impe- 
rative of prudence would, like the technical, be an ana- 
lytic proposition ; for it differs from the imperative of 
art in this singly, that in the latter the end is potential, 
in the former, given ; both enjoining merely the means 
necessary for reaching somewhat already willed as end ; 
but where this is done, the position is analytic, — there can 
therefore be no difficulty in comprehending how this im- 
perative is possible. 

But how the imperative of morality comes to be pos- 
sible, is beyond doubt a very difficult question, and is in 
fact the only problem requiring a solution ; the imperative 
not being hypothetic, and its objective, absolute necessity, 
not admitting any explanation from suppositions. Neither 
can we in this investigation aid ourselves by examples ; 
for experience and observation would always leave us in 
doubt whether the imperative were not hypothetic, although 
appearing apodictic : Thus, when it is said, " Thou shalt 
not make any false promise," and the necessity announced 
in such an imperative is understood to be unconditional, 
so that it could not have been expressed thus, Make no 
false promise, lest thou destroy thy credit," then it is plain 
that no example can make exhibitive such categoric de- 
termination of will ; for the example cannot satisfy us that 
every other mobile was excluded from the will, and that 



the law was itself alone, abstracted from all other consider- 
ations, the only spring of action ; and it is quite conceiv- 
able that some secret fear of shame, or apprehension of 
other evils, may have co-operated with it ; nor can we 
establish the non-existence of such motive-causes by any 
experience, this showing nowhat farther than that we have 
not observed them ; and should this turn out to be the case 
with our example, then the ethic imperative, while appa- 
rently categorical and unconditional, would be at bottom 
no more than a dictate of expediency, making us attentive 
to our own advantage, and teaching how to keep it in view. 

The possibility of a categorical imperative must there- 
fore be investigated altogether a priori, its reality not 
being susceptible of illustration by examples ; a circum- 
stance rendering the theory of its possibility requisite, 
not only for its explanation, but a preliminary indispen- 
sable for its establishment. This, however, is plain, that 
the categorical imperative alone announces itself as law; 
the other imperatives may be principles, but they never 
can be laws of volition ; and what is necessary to attain 
some given end may yet in itself be contingent, and man 
may detach himself from the imperative whenever he 
renounces the end it rests upon, whereas the unconditioned 
command leaves no option to the will, and has alone that 
necessity which is of the essence of a law. 

Again, the ground of the difficulty of comprehending 
the possibility of the categorical imperative, i. e. of the mo- 
ral law, is very great ; the imperative is a synthetical pro- 
position a priori ; and as we felt so much difficulty in com- 
prehending the possibility of this kind of proposition in 
speculative metaphysics, we may presume the difficulty 
will be no less in the practical. 


In this inquiry we shall examine whether or not the 
mere conception of a categorical imperative may not 
involve in it a general formula, furnishing us with that 
expression which can alone be valid as a categorical impe- 
rative ; for how such an absolute commandment can be 
possible, even after we know its tenor, will demand a pe- 
culiar and laborious disquisition, which we defer till the 
third chapter. 

When I represent to myself a hypothetical imperative, 
I do not know beforehand what it contains, till the ulte- 
rior condition on which it rests is put in my possession ; 
but with the very conception of a categorical imperative 
is given also its contents, for the imperative can in this 
case contain only the law ordaining the necessity of a 
maxim to be conformed to this law ; and since the law is 
attached to no condition which could particularize it, 
there remains nowhat except the form of law in genere, 
to which the maxim of an act is to be conformed; and 
this conformity is, properly speaking, what the impera- 
tive represents as necessary. 

The categorical imperative is therefore single and one : 
** Act from that maxim only when thou canst will law 

If, then, we are in a condition, from this single impe- 
rative, to derive all imperatives of duty, then we have 
ascertained the import and content of the idea, and un- 
derstand what it is we think of when we name it ; al- 
though we still, for the present, leave undecided whether 
duty may not after all turn out an imaginary and blank 

Because the unvariedness of the laws by which events 
take place is the formal notion of what is called nature. 


I. e. an order of things determined according to an unva- 
ried, universal law, the formula of the ethical imperative 
might be expressed thus : " Act as if the maxim of thy 
will were to become, by thy adopting it, an universal law 
of nature." 

In illustration of this last formula, I shall take a few 
examples, according to the popular and received division 
of duties into that of duties of determinate and indetermi- 
nate obligation toward ourselves and others.* 

1. An individual harassed by a series of evils, and 
sickened with the tedium of life, proposes to commit 
self-murder ; but first inquires within himself to know if 
the maxim regulating such an act would be fit for law 
universal. His intended maxim would be, to deprive him- 
self of life whenever existence promised more of misery 
than of pleasure ; and the question is, can such a princi- 
ple of self-love be regarded as fit for an universal law of 
nature ? and it is instantly observable, that an order of 
things whose law it were to destroy life, by force of the 
sensation intended for its continuance, could not be up- 
held, but must return to chaos. Whence it results that 
such maxim cannot possibly be regarded as fit for an un- 
varied law of nature, but is repugnant to the supreme 
principle of duty. 

2. A second finds himself under the necessity of bor- 
rowing money. He knows he cannot repay ; but he foresees 

* The systematic division of the duties I postpone to the metaphysic 
of ethics, and the above division is merely adopted in order to arrange 
my examples. By a determinate duty, however, I understand such an 
one as admits of no exceptions in favour of appetite ; whence I arrive at 
both external and internal determinate obligations ; and though this run 
counter to the common terminology of the schools, it is immaterial to 
ray present purpose whether this be conceded to me or not. 


that nothing will be lent to him if he do not stoutly 
promise to repay within a given time. He intends giving 
such a promise, but has so much conscience left as to put 
the question, whether it be not inconsistent with his duty 
to have recourse to such shifts for his relief? Suppose, 
however, that he notwithstanding adopts this resolution, 
then his maxim would sound as follows : As soon as I 
fancy myself in want of money, I will borrow it upon a 
promise to repay, although I well know I never will or 
can. Such a principle of self-love may be easily brought 
into accommodation with one's other desires and wishes. 
But when the question is put as to the integrity of such 
conduct, I convert my maxim into law universal, and in- 
quire how it would suit if such a principle were every- 
where adopted ? Whereupon I immediately observe, that 
it is quite unfit for a universal law of nature, and would 
become contradictory to itself, and self-destructive, if made 
so ; for a uniform practice by which every one should be 
entitled to promise what he liked, and not to keep it, 
would defeat the intent and end for which such promises 
might be made ; these becoming by such a law incredible, 
and not possible to be acted on. 

3. A third finds himself possessed of certain powers of 
mind, which, with some slight culture, might render him 
a highly useful member of society ; but he is in easy cir- 
cumstances, and prefers amusement to the thankless toil 
of cultivating his understanding and perfecting his na- 
ture. But suppose him to put the question, whether this 
sluggish maxim, so much in harmony with his appetite 
for pleasure, harmonize equally with duty ; and he ob- 
serves that an order of things might continue to exist 
under a law enjoining men to let their talents rust, and 


to devote their lives to amusement. But it is impossible 
for any one to will that such should become an universal 
law of nature, or were by an instinct implanted in his sys- 
tem ; for he, as Intelligent, of necessity wills all his facul- 
ties to become developed, such being given him in order 
that they may subserve his various and manifold ends and 

4. A fourth, possessing wealth, observes others strug- 
gling with difficulties ; and though he might easily assist 
them, he says, what concern is it of mine ? Let every one 
be as happy as he can. I neither hinder nor envy any 
one ; nor can I take the trouble to exert myself to ad- 
vance his welfare, nor to redress his sorrows. Now, un- 
questionably, were such sentiments constituted universal 
laws of nature, our species might still continue to exist, 
and in fact might advance better, than when people mere- 
ly talk of sympathy and charity, or even than when they 
exercise such virtues, but at the same time, and by the 
by, deceive and otherways invade the rights of man. 
Now, although an order of things might subsist under 
such an universal law, yet reason cannot will that this 
should be the case ; for a will ordaining such would con- 
tradict itself, when, in the course of events, it would wil- 
lingly avail itself of the compassion and kindness of 
others, and yet would see itself deprived of these by the 
harsh law emanating from its own maxim. 

These are some few of what mankind deems his duties, 
evolved clearly from the foregoing formula. An Intelli- 
gent must be able to muII his maxims of conduct laws of 
catholic extent. Such is the canon of ethical volition. 
Some actions are of such a stamp that they cannot be pre- 
sented to the mind even in thought, without their unfitness 


for law being flagrant ; and in other cases, where no such 
internal impropriety existed, it was out of the question 
that an Intelligent should will his maxim to become an 
universal law of nature ; the first kind of duties are those 
of strict and determinate obligation, the second those which 
are indeterminate, and admit a certain latitude : whence 
we see that all kinds of duties are exhibited by the above 
examples in their connection and dependence on the single 
principle previously stated. 

When we attend to what passes in our own minds 
when we overstep the bounds of duty, we find that we do 
not really will our maxim to become a law of catholic ex- 
tent ; for that is impossible, and the contrary is inevita- 
bly willed ; however, we sometimes assume the license, 
for a single time as we think, to make an exception 
from this universality. And were we to examine things 
singly from the vantage-ground of reason, we should des- 
cry contradiction in our own will in not adhering to duty, 
viz. that a certain principle should be regarded as a law 
objectively necessary and of catholic extent, and yet at 
the same time as subjectively not of universal validity, 
but admitting exceptions ; the reason whereof is, that in 
the one case reason guides our choice, in the other our 
will is biassed by an appetite ; so that in truth there is no 
contradiction in the mind itself, but only an opposition 
from the part of inclination against the dictates of reason ; 
by all which the universality of the law is frittered down 
to a mere generality, and reason constrained to meet the 
appetites half way. But, on impartial self-examination, 
we cannot justify to ourselves this departure ; which shows 
that the mind does in fact recognise and acknowledge the 
categorical imperative as possessing ethical virtue to oblige 


its will ; and it is in spite of all our reverence for it that 
we allow ourselves a few occasional exceptions. 

We have pursued this investigation so far as to establish, 
that if duty be a conception of any import, and contain 
laws applicable to human conduct, these laws are expres- 
sed in categorical imperatives, not in hypothetical. We 
have likewise, which is no small matter, determined the 
expression of the formula of the categorical imperative, 
which ought to be susceptible of expansion in terms ap- 
plicable to every duty (if there be at all any such). But 
we have not yet been able to show a priori that there is 
any such imperative, that there is a practical law com- 
manding absolutely and independently of every sensi- 
tive determinator, and that the observance of this law is 

In prosecuting our attempt to achieve such a demon- 
stration, it is of the last moment to bear constantly in 
mind that the reality of this law cannot be deduced from 
any peculiarities incident to human nature ; for duty is 
to be the unconditionate necessity of an act, and must 
have force to oblige all Intelligents whatsoever, and upon 
this account alone, therefore, also man. But whatever is 
derived from the particular structure of human nature, — 
from given feelings or emotions, or from any bias ad- 
hering to our reason, but not essentially biassing all wills 
whatever, — may be a maxim for conduct, but never can be 
a law ; e. e. may be a subjective principle we like to fol- 
low, but never can be an objective law, ordaining how to 
act, even although appetite, the vis inertice of our consti- 
tution, and an original bias in the will itself, were all 
thwarting its behest ; which opposing circumstances 
would in fact only show the high supremacy and internal 


dignity of the law of duty, the less they proved able to 
eifect any diminution of its ethical necessitation. 

And now philosophy seems placed in a very perilous 
situation, since she is allowed no peg either in heaven or 
in earth from which to suspend her principles. Now she 
has to show her integrity, as self-upholder of her own laws, 
not as the herald of those which some innate sense or 
guardian nature had whispered in her ear, and which, 
though better than nothing, never afford statutes of con- 
duct, ordained by reason from a source altogether a priori .- 
statutes which have thence alone, their authority — to com- 
mand mankind, to expect nowhat from the solicitations of 
his sensory, but all from the supremacy of the law and 
the reverence he owes it, or, if he fail to do so — to hand 
him over to his own contempt and inward detestation. 

Any a posteriori part, added to the principle of mora- 
lity, is not only no improvement, but is in fact highly de- 
trimental to the purity of morals ; for the proper worth of 
an absolutely good will consists just in this, that the prin- 
ciples of action are thoroughly defecated from every admix- 
ture of foreign and adventitious grounds. Nor can I suffi- 
ciently warn against the sluggishness, or, I would even say, 
low cast of thinking, which seeks its motives of action a 
posteriori, whereon reason, when fatigued, willingly re- 
clines, and substitutes to morality a changeling bastard, 
which looks like any thing you please, except virtue, in 
the eye of him who has once beheld her in her true form.* 

The question amounts, then, to this,— is it a law incum- 

• To behold virtue in her proper form, is just to exhibit morality di- 
vested of all false ornaments of reward or self-love- How she then 
eclipses whatever seems charming to sense, every man of uncorrupted 
reason at once perceives. 


bent upon every rational nature whatsoever, to order and 
arrange its actions conformably to such maxims as it 
could will elevated to the rank of law in a system of 
general moral legislation ? If this be so, then such a law 
must needs be inseparably connected a priori with the 
very idea of the will of a reasonable agent ; but to obtain 
a view of this connexion, we must enter the domain of 
metaphysic reason, and, quitting speculative philosophy, 
betake ourselves to a disquisition in the metaphysic of 
ethics. In practical philosophy we have not to do with 
that which happens, nor to take our principles from it, 
but with an objective practical law, announcing what 
ought and should happen, although in fact and event it may 
never be so. Accordingly we do not here inquire why 
something pleases or displeases, as in the case of taste, 
nor yet whether this satisfaction may differ from a com- 
placency of reason ; neither do we investigate on what the 
feeling of pleasure and pain may depend, nor how desire 
and its concurring with reason may give birth to maxims ; 
for these all belong to psychology, and Sive a posteriori, and 
to be solved by an induction. But we are going to in- 
quire of objective necessary laws, i. e. regarding the rela- 
tion of the will to itself, in so far as it is determined by 
reason, and where everything relating to experience and 
observation is overlooked ; because, if reason of itself de- 
termine the practical conduct of life, it must needs do so 
altogether a priori, the possibility whereof we now set 
ourselves to examine. 

The will is cogitated as a faculty to determine itself to 
act conformably to the representation of given laws ; and 
such a power can be met with in reasonable agents only. 
Now what serves the will for the ground of its self-determi- 

Metaphysic of ethics. 43 

nation is called the " end;" and such end, if objected by 
reason only, must extend equally to every reasonable be- 
ing. What, on the other hand, contains no more than the 
ground of the possibility of an act, the ulterior effect of 
which last is the end, is called the " mean." The sub- 
jective ground of desire is a spring, the objective ground 
of volition is law ; hence the distinction betwixt subjec- 
tive ends which rest upon springs, and objective ones 
which attach themselves to laws, and are valid for every 
Intelligent whatsoever. Practical principles are formed 
when they abstract from all subjective ends; they are 
" material" when they presuppose these last and their 
springs. The ends which an Intelligent may regard as the 
product of his own activity, and which it is in his option 
to pursue or to decline, are not absolute ends, but rela- 
tive and adventitious merely ; for their value depends 
upon the relation obtaining betwixt them and the appeti- 
tive faculty of the thinking subject, and so they cannot 
found necessary principles of volition, nor laws of catho- 
lic extent, — thus relative ends can be the ground of hypo- 
thetical imperatives singly. 

, Let there, however, be granted somewhat whose exist- 
ence has in itself an absolute worth, and which, as in it- 
self an end, is itself the ground of its own given laws. 
Then herein, and here alone, would lie the ground of the 
possibility of a categorical imperative, i. e. of a practical law. 
Now I say that man and every reasonable agent exists 
as an end in himself, and not as a mere mean or instru- 
mental to be employed by any will whatsoever, not even 
by his own, but must in every action regard his existence, 
and that of every other Intelligent, as an end in itself. 
Objects of appetite and inclination have a conditioned va- 


lue only ; for, apart from the appetite, and the want felt 
as springing from it, its object would be regarded as en- 
tirely worthless ; and appetite itself, so far from possess- 
ing any absolute worth to make it desirable, is, on 
the contrary, as the source of all our wants, what every 
Intelligent must wish to be freed from. Upon this ac- 
count the value of every thing produced by our own exer- 
tions is conditioned. Even those external things where- 
of the existence rests not on our will, but depends on na- 
ture, have, as irrationals^ a relative value only, and are used 
as means and instruments for our behoof, and are therefore 
called THINGS ; whereas an Intelligent is called a person, 
he being by the constitution of his system distinguished 
as an end in himself, i. e. as somewhat which may not be 
used as a mere mean, and as restraining to his extent 
the arbitrary use which other wills might make of him, 
and becoming, by force of such restraint, an object of re- 
verence. Persons are therefore not subjective ends, whose 
existence is valued by us as an eifect resulting from 
our active exertion ; but are objective ends, whose very 
existence is itself an end, and that too of so eminent 
a sort, that no other end can be assigned to which they 
could be subordinated as means. For if this were not the 
case, then were no absolute and unconditioned value 
given ; and if all value were merely hypothetic and for- 
tuitous, it would be impossible to discover any supreme 
practical position on which to ground the operations of 

Thus it is seen, that if there is to be a supreme practical 
position, and in respect of the human will a categorical 
imperative, it must be such a principle as may constitute 
a law by the bare representation of that which is an end 


for every man because it is an end in itself; the ground 
of the principle is, " every intelligent nature exists as an 
end in itself."* All mankind must of necessity thus figure 
to themselves their own existence, and to this extent it is 
a subjective principle of conduct. Again, in the very 
same way, all other rationals thus cogitate their own ex- 
istence, by force of the same grounds of reason which de- 
termine man to think so ; wherefore the above is likewise 
an objective principle, and from it, as the supreme prac- 
tical position, all laws of the will must be capable of being 
deduced. In this way the practical imperative may sound 
as follows : "So act that humanity, both in thy own per- 
son and that of others, be used as an end in itself, and 
never as a mere mean." 

This formula we shall now illustrate, to see how it 
holds, and whether it tallies with the former. We shall 
instance again in the above examples. 

First, in the case of duty owed toward ourselves. He who 
proposes to commit suicide, has to ask himself if his ac- 
tion be consistent with the idea of humanity as an end 
in itself. The man who destroys his organic system to 
escape from sorrow and distress, makes use of his per- 
son as a mean toward the supporting himself in a state of 
comfort and ease until the end of life. But humanity is 
not a thing, i. e. is not that which can be dealt with as a 
mean singly, but is that which must at all times be re- 
garded as an end in itself. I am therefore not at liberty 
to dispose of that humanity which constitutes my person, 
either by killing, maiming, or mutilating it. 

Second, in reference to the duty owed to others. He 

* This position is here stated as a postulate. Its ground is assign- 
ed in the next chapter. 


who intends to promise deceitfully, must at once perceive 
that he makes use of his neighbour as a mere mean, not 
regarding him as an end in himself (not making him, at 
the same time, the end and aim of his conduct) ; for he 
who is thus misused«to a private and by-end, cannot possi- 
bly approve of such a line of conduct, nor can he contain 
in himself the end of such a promise. This repugnancy to 
the position that humanity is its own end, comes out more 
prominently when we take examples of inroads made on 
personal freedom or property. In such cases it is pal- 
pable that the violator of the rights of man serves himself 
of the personality of his fellow as a mere mean, not tak- 
ing into account that an Intelligent must, if a mean, be 
notwithstanding the end of any given action (i. e. be 
regarded as such a mean as may also be the end of the 
action). ^ 

Thirdly, in respect of the indeterminate duties we owe 
to ourselves, it is not enough that the action do not sub- 
vert one's own humanity ; it must coincide with it, so as 
to advance it as its own end. Now every person possesses 
sundry dispositions and endowments capable of being in- 
definitely perfected, and which obviously belong and con- 
duce to the end aimed at by nature, in constituting the 
humanity of our person ; to disregard these indications 
might no doubt consist with the physical preservation of 
mankind, but not with its advancement as an end. 

Fourthly, with regard to the indeterminate obligations 
due from us to others, the physical end which all men 
have is happiness. Now, it cannot be doubted that hu- 
manity could consist, although each man left indifferent 
the happiness of his fellow, and was concerned merely not 
to off^r to it any detriment ; but then this would be a 


mere negative, and no positive coincidence of actions 
with humanity as an end in itself, so long as no one en- 
deavoured to advance the ends and interests of others ; 
for the ends of that subject who is in himself an end, must 
of necessity be my ends too if the representation of huma- 
nity as an end in itself is the all-effective mobile of my 

This position, that humanity and every Intelligent is an 
end in himself, is not established by any observation or 
experience, as is seen, first, from the generality by which 
we have extended it to every rational whatsoever ; and, 
second, because humanity was exhibited, not as a subjec- 
tive end of mankind (e. e. not as an object which it stood 
in their option to pursue or to decline), but as their objec- 
tive end, which, whatever other ends mankind may have, 
does, as law, constitute the supreme limiting condition of 
such subjective ends, and which must consequently take 
its rise from reason a priori. Now, the ground of all prac- 
tical legislation lies objectively in the rule, and its form 
of universality, whereby it is fitted for law, agreeably to 
the first formula. But subjectively in the end ; and the 
subject of all ends is each Intelligent himself, as an ulti- 
mate or last end, according to the second formula ; from 
which two, when combined, there emerges a third expres- 
sion, which comprises at once the form and the matter o* 
the supreme practical law, and presents us with the idea 
of the will of every Intelligent as universally legisla- 

Agreeably to this formula, all maxims are objectionable 
which do not harmonise with the universal legislation of 
man's own will. His will is therefore to be regarded as 
not subjected to the law simply, but so subjected as to be 


self-legislative, and upon this account alone, subjected to 
the law of which himself is the author. 

The imperative, as above represented, viz. as importing 
an uniform sequence of actions similar to the uniformity 
of events in the physic system, or as founded on that pre- 
rogative of an Intelligent whereby he is an end in him- 
self, excluded from its authority the co-operation of any 
interest as a spring ; an exclusion understood from the 
very categorical exhibition of it. The imperative was pos- 
tulated as categorical, since without this the idea duty 
could not be explained ; but that there really are practi- 
cal principles a priori^ containing a categorical command- 
ment, could not yet be proved, nor can we attempt it in 
this chapter ; but this one thing still remained to be done, 
to show that (self-detachment from interest) disinterest- 
edness is, in a duteous volition, that which constitutes the 
specific difference betwixt a categorical and hypothetical 
imperative, a notion which ought to be denoted by the 
imperative itself; and this is now done in the last formu- 
la, viz, the idea of the will of every Intelligent as a will 
universally legislative. 

For when we figure to ourselves a will supremely legis- 
lative, it is clear that it cannot be dependent upon any 
interest (although a will subjected to a law simply may 
be attached to it by the intervention of an interest) ; for 
then the will universally legislative, and yet dependent, 
would require a further law, restricting its private in- 
terest to the condition of being fit for law in a system of 
universal moral legislation. 

It is now obvious that the position of a will, universally 
legislative by all its maxims (supposing such a thing were 
established), would suit very well for a categorical impera- 


live ; because, being rested, on the idea of an vinirersal le- 
gislation, it is not founded on any interest; and thus, 
amidst many imperatives, is the only unconditioned one. 
Or, by converting the proposition, if there be a categori- 
cal imperative, it can only ordain to act according to that 
maxim of a will which could at the same time regard it- 
self as universally legislative ; for then the practical prin- 
ciple and imperative which it obeys are unconditional, 
being founded upon no interest. 

And now we may cease to wonder how all former at- 
tempts to investigate the ultimate principle of morals 
should have proved unsuccessful. The inquirers saw that 
man was bound to law by the idea duty ; but it did not 
occur to them that he was bound singly by his own law 
universal, the prerogative of his nature fitting him for an 
universal legislator, and so subjecting him to the law 
emanating from his own will. For, so soon as we regard 
him subjected to law simply (no matter of what sort), 
then this law must have carried some interest, whereby 
either to allure or to co-act; for, not springing from 
his own will, the will was legally necessitated by some- 
what else to act in a given manner. This inevitable con- 
clusion rendered fruitless and abortive every .attempt to 
establish a supreme principle of duty ; for there resulted, 
never duty, but the necessity of an action conformably to 
some given interest. This might be either a proper or a 
foreign interest, but in either case the imperative was con- 
ditioned ; and this, we have seen, is invalid for a moral 
law. I shall therefore call this fundamental position the 
principle of the autonomy of the will, in contradistinction 
to every other, which I call heteronomy. 

This principle, that every Intelligent ought to regard 


himself as legislating (by his maxims) throughout the uni- 
verse of Intelligents, in order, from this vantage-ground, 
to pass judgment upon himself and his own actions, leads 
to this very important and fruitful consideration, — the 
representation of all things whatsoever, under this charac- 
ter of ends, constituting one vast whole of ends, which, 
from its analogy to what we call " the realm of nature," 
may be styled " the realm of ends." 

By a " rea/w," I understand the systematic conjunction 
of all intelligent nature under an uniform and common 
law. But since the law admits those ends singly which 
be valid universally as ends for all, we shall have, by 
abstracting from the personal difference which may exist 
between Intelligents, and also from their peculiar and per- 
sonal ends, an aggregate of ends (comprising both the In- 
telligents as ends in themselves, and likewise their own 
farther ends), in systematic union ; that is, " a realm of 
ends^^ is cogitable, and is, by virtue of the foregoing prin- 
ciples, possible. 

For Intelligents stand one and all under this common 
law : " Never to employ himself or others as a mean, but 
always as an end in himself." But from this common 
objective law arises a systematic conjunction of Intelli- 
gents, i. e. a realm, which, though extant in idea only, 
may, because these laws regard the relation of Intelligents 
to one another, as means and ends, be called " the realm 
of ends." 

An Intelligent is a member in the realm of ends, when 
he is, in addition to being universally legislative, himself 
subjected to these laws. But he belongs to it as its sove- 
reign, when, in legislating, he is not subjected to the will 
of any other. 


Ev^ery Intelligent must therefore at all times regard 
Inmself as legislating in a potential realm of ends, realiza- 
ble by his freedom of will, and that too either as its mem- 
ber or as its sovereign ; but the room of this last he can- 
not occupy merely by force of the maxims of his will, but 
only then, when he is altogether independent, exempt from 
wants, and endowed with power commensurate to his 

Morality, therefore, consists in referring all action to 
that legislation whereby the realm of ends is possible. 
This legislation, however, must be met with in every In- 
telligent, and take its rise from his will, whose principle 
is, never to act from any maxim which it could not will 
an universal law ; or this, always so to act that the will 
may regard itself as enouncing its maxim an universal 
law, t. e. as universally legislative. When an Intelligent's 
maxims are not, by the constitution of his system, neces- 
sarily conformed to this principle, then is the necessity of 
acting agreeably to this principle, practical necessitation, 
». e. duty. Duty cannot be predicated of the sovereign 
in the realm of ends ; but it can of every member, and of 
all equally in degree. 

The practical necessity of acting conformably to this 
principle, i. e. duty, rests not on feelings, interests, or in- 
clination, but singly on the relation betwixt Intelligents, 
where the will of each must be regarded as universally le- 
gislative, apart from which he could not be figured as an 
end in himself. Reason applies every maxim of will as 
universally legislative to every other will, and also to 
every action whereby it is affected ; and this not out of 
any regard had to its own future advantage, or to any other 
private end, but singly on account of its idea of the dig- 


nity of an Intelligent, obeying no law except that which 
itself originates. 

Everything in the realm of ends has either a " price" 
or a " dignity" That has a price in the room of which 
something as an equivalent may be put ; but that which 
is above all price, and admits not substitution by an equi- 
valent, has a dignity. 

What is subservient to human wants and wishes has a 
market-price ; and what, when there is no want, serves 
only to gratify a taste (e. e. a complacency in stimulating 
the aimless play of fancy), has a fancy-price. But that 
which constitutes the condition, under which alone any- 
what can be an end in itself, has not merely a relative va- 
lue, i. e. a price, but has an inward worth, i. e. a dignity. 

Now, morality is the condition under which alone an 
Intelligent can be figured as an end in himself, since by 
it alone can he become a legislator in the " realm of ends." 
Wherefore morality, and humanity in so far as it is sus- 
ceptible of that morality, is alone that which has the dig- 
nity. Diligence, attention, and adroitness, have their 
market-price. Wit, gaiety, and good temper, have a price 
of affection. But incorruptible justice, charity, and un- 
broken faith, have an inward worth. Neither nature nor 
art contain, in their vast domain, what, if those were 
awanting, could be brought to supply the void ; for their 
worth consists not in their conduciveness to any end, not 
in their profit or advantage, but in the sentiments ; i. e. 
in the maxims of the will in which they are causally in- 
seated, although opportunity should now prevent such 
will from stepping forth to act. Actions of this sort need 
no recommendation from the part of taste, nor do they 
require any propensity or sense to cause them to be beheld 


with inward favour and approbation, nor do they ad- 
dress tliemselves to any adventitious whim or caprice ; 
they exhibit the will giving them birth as the object of an 
immediate reverence, and are actions to which reason 
summons up, demanding them from the will, — whereto she 
invites, by no flattery or blandishment, which last mili- 
tate with the very idea of a duty. Such reverence ena- 
bles us to estimate the inward worth of such a frame of 
mind as a dignity, as incomputably advanced above all 
price; nor can we compare or liken it to such barter 
^vithout in a manner violating its sanctity. 

What, then, is it which entitles the morally good sen- 
timent, i. e. virtue, to make a claim so lofty ? It is no- 
thing else than the share imparted thereby to the Intel- 
ligent in the universal legislation, making him fit to be- 
come a member of the realm of ends, for whicb indeed 
the constitution of his nature destined him, making him 
an end in himself, and, upon that account, a legislator in 
the realm — absolved from every physical law, and obedi- 
ent to those only which he gives himself — by which laws 
also his maxims may pertain to that universal legislation, 
whereunto at the same time he subjects himself; for no- 
thing has any worth except that assigned to it by the law. 
But that law which determines, and is the standard of all 
worth, must upon that account have a dignity, i. e. an un- 
conditioned, incomparable worth ; and reverence is the only 
beseeming expression whereby to state that estimation in 
which an Intelligent ought to hold it. Autonomy is there- 
fore the ground of the dignity of humanity, and also of 
every other intelligent nature whatsoever. 

The three expressions just adopted, enouncing the prin- 
ciple of morality, are no more than three " formula^* of 


one and the same law, each involving in it the other two ; 
and any difference is subjectively, not objectively, practi- 
cal. They vary by giving a sensible delineation, according 
to different analogies, to an idea of reason, approaching it 
thereby to the mental vision and its feelings. According- 
ly all maxims have — 

I. A form, consisting in their universality ; and here the 
tenor of the categorical imperative was, " All maxims 
sliall be such only as are fit for law universal." 

II. A matter, i. e. ar^end ; where the formula ordained, 
that each Intelligent, being by his nature an end in him- 
self, should subordinate to this end the maxims of all his 
casual and arbitrary ends. 

III. An aggregate determination, by the formula, that 
all maxims of the self-legislative will must be totally sub- 
ordinated to, and resolved into, the potential idea of the 
realm of ends, like as if it were the realm of nature. The 
three formulae advance in the order of the categories, from 
the unity of the form of the will {i. e. its universality), to 
the plurality of its matter (t. e. of the objects willed — the 
ends), and thence to the aggi'egate or totality of the system 
of its ends. It is better, however, to adhere to the stricter 
formula of the categorical imperative : Act according to 
that maxim which thou couldst at the same time will an 
universal law. But when the law has to be conveyed into 
the mind, it is extremely useful to avail one's self of these 
different expressions. 

And now we have arrived at the point from which we 
first set out ; namely, the conception of a good will. That 
we now know is a good will whose maxim, if made law 
universal, would not be repugnant to itself. This principle 
is its supreme law : " Act according to that maxim whose 


universality, as law, thou canst at the same time will." 
This is the sole condition upon which a will can never 
contradict itself; and this imperative is categoric. And 
since such a will, if considered as realizing its maxims, is 
analogous to that uniform and systematic order of events 
in the physical system which we call nature ; the cate- 
gorical imperative might be couched thus : " Act from 
maxims fit to be regarded as universal laws of nature." 
These are the formulae indicating what an absolutely good 
will is. 

An Intelligent has this prerogative over every other 
being, that he can assign to himself and fix his own end. 
Such end would be the matter chosen by every good will ; 
but since, in the idea of a will absolutely and uncondi- 
tionally good, we must abstract from all ends to be effec- 
tuated (which ends could make a will relatively good 
only), this end must be cogitated, not as one to be effect- 
ed, but as an independent self-subsisting end, that is, ne- 
gatively only ; in other words, as an end against which 
no action dare militate, and which must, in every voli- 
tion, be stated, not as a bare instrumental or means, but 
always as an end. This, however, can be nothing else 
than the subject of all possible ends himself; he being 
likewise the potential subject of an absolutely good will, 
which will cannot be postponed to any other object with- 
out an inconsistency. And the position, " So act in re- 
ference to all Intelligents (thyself and others), that they 
may enter as ends into the constitution of thy maxim," is 
virtually identic with the former, " Act according to a 
maxim possessed of universal validity for all Intelligents ;" 
for that I ought, when employing means to any end, so to 
limit and condition my maxim that it may be valid to oblige 



as law every thinking subject, says exactly the same thing 
with this, that the subject of all ends, i. e. the Intelligent 
himself, may never be employed as a means, but must, as 
the supreme condition limiting all use of means, enter as 
end into the constitution of all maxims of acting. 

From all this we infer, that every Intelligent must, as 
end in himself, be able to regard himself as universally 
legislative, in respect of all laws to which he may at the 
same time be subjected ; this fitness of his maxims for 
law universal being exactly that which indicates him to 
be an end in himself: and we infer further, that this his 
dignity and excellency above every other creature forces 
him to construct his maxims, from the consideration 
of himself and other Intelligents as legislators (called up- 
on this account persons). In this way, a world of Intelli- 
gents (mundus intelligibilis) may be cogitated, — and that 
ideal, which we have denominated " the realm of ends," is 
possible by the self-legislation of all its members. Conse- 
quently every Intelligent ought so to act as if he were by 
his maxims a person legislating for the universal empire 
of ends in themselves. The formal principle of these 
maxims is, " Act as if thy maxim were to become law 
universal" (for an universe of Intelligents). The realm 
of ends can only be figured as possible from its analogy 
to the realm of nature, — that proceeding upon maxims, 
i. e. self-imposed laws, this by virtue of the law of the ne- 
cessary-nexus; and yet this physical system itself, although, 
so far as we know, a mere machine, is, when viewed in its 
connection with Intelligents, as the end why it is there, 
called, upon this very account, the realm of nature. The 
realm of ends would likewise really come into existence 
were every Intelligent to adhere to the maxims dictated 


by the categorical imperative; and although an Intelligent 
cannot infer that, even were he punctually to adhere to 
the categoric maxims, all others would do so too ; nor yet, 
that the realm of nature, and the uniformity of its se- 
quences, might be so found in harmony with his endea- 
vours to realize the realm of ends, as to answer his expec- 
tation of happiness : the law does nevertheless ordain 
with undiminished force, for the command is categorical, 
" Act agreeably to the maxims of a person ordaining law 
universal in the realm of ends." Nor can this paradox 
cease to astonish us, that the mere dignity of humanity as 
an Intelligent entity, abstracted from all by-views or ul- 
terior considerations, that is, in other words, that reverence 
for a bare idea, should furnish the will with an unchang- 
ing and inexorable law, and ^Ao^just in this independency 
of the will's maxim on all such outward motives should 
consist its majesty and augustuess, and the worthiness of 
every thinking subject to occupy the station of a legislator 
in the realm of ends, — since, apart from this independency, 
the Intelligent must needs be subjected to the mechanic 
law of his physical wants. And even if we were to figure 
to ourselves the realms of nature brought into union with 
the realms of ends under the sovereignty of a Supreme 
Head, whereby the latter state would cease to be a mere 
idea, but would become reality, then would the idea dig- 
nity gain force from the addition of so strong a spring, 
but it could receive no augmentation of its intrinsic worth ; 
for, notwithstanding all this, the Sovereign Lawgiver 
must himself be cogitated as judging of the worth of In- 
telligents only according to their disinterested adherence 
to the line of conduct prescribed to them by that idea. 
The essence of things cannot be altered by any external 


circumstance ; and that which, independently of this last, 
constitutes the absolute worth of man, must serve as the 
standard by which to judge him. Moral it y is, then, th e 
relation obtainin g betwixt ru ction and the autonomy^ of 
the will ; actions in harmony with autono my of w ill are 
allowed and lawful. What actions are incompatible with 
it are disallowed and unlawful. A will whose maxims 
coincide of necessity with the laws of autonomy, is a Holy 
Will, or an absolutely good will ; the dependency of a will 
not altogether good, on the principle of autonomy, is ethi- 
cal necessitation, and is called obligation. Obligation 
cannot upon this account be predicated of a Holy Will ; 
the objective necessity of an action, on account of this ob- 
ligation, is what is called duty. 

These observations enable us to understand how, while 
the idea duty imports subordination to law, we yet con- 
ceive a certain elevation and dignity to belong to that In- 
telligent who discharges all his duties ; for to this extent 
there is no ground of elevation that the will is subjected 
to law : but herein consists the elevation, that the person 
is himself the legislator, and on this account alone bound 
to subject himself to it. We likewise explained above, 
how neither fearj nor inclination, but only reverence for 
the law, could be the spring conferring on any action mo- 
ral worth. Our own will, in so far as it acts only under 
the condition required to fit its maxims for law universal 
— such potential state of will — is, I say, the proper object 
of reverence ; and the dignity of man just consists in the 
ability to be universally legislative, although upon this 
condition to be at the same time subjected to his own le- 


Autonomy of Will is the Supreme Principle of Morality. 

Autonomy of will is that Quality of will by which a will 
( independently of any oj ^ect willed) is a law to itself. 
The principle of auton omy, thci'efore, is to choose suctT I 
maxims singly a s may be willed law universal . That this 
practical rule is an imperative, i. e. that the will of every 
Intelligent is necessarily attached to this condition, can- 
not be evinced by merely analysing the notions contained 
in the position, for it is a synthetic a priori proposition. 
We must, in short, pass from the investigation of the ob- 
ject, to an investigation of the subject ; i. e. to an inquiry 
into the functions of practical reason itself; for this syn- 
thetic position, which commands apodictically, must be 
cognisable altogether a priori. But this inquiry is not 
within the limits of the present chapter. However, that 
this principle of autonomy is the alone principle of ethics, 
can be sufficiently evinced from a bare analysis of the cur- 
i-ent notions regarding morality ; and we found that its 
supreme principle must needs be a categorical imperative, 
and that the imperative again ordained just this autono- 
my. How such a synthetic practical position a priori is 
POSSIBLE, and why it is necessary, is a problem beyond 
the limits of the metaphysic of ethics. However, whoso 
admits morality to be anywhat, and not a mere fantasti- 
cal conceit, must admit at the same time the above prin- 
ciple. But that MORALITY IS NO CHIMERA, will follow, 

then, when the categorical imperative, and the au- 
tonomy it enjoins, is true, and absolutely necessary as 
a position a priori. But this requires a potential syn- 
thetic use of practical reason a priori ; an assertion we 


cannot hazard, without first premising an inquiry into 
the causal functions of that faculty, which we shall now 
do in the next chapter, at least so far as to satisfy this 




The Idea Freedom explains that of Autonomy of Will. 

WiTj, is that kind of causality attributed to living 
agents, in so far as they are possessed of reason^ and free- 
dom is such a property of that causality as enables them 
to originate events, independently of foreign determining 
causes; as, on the other hand, (mechanical) necessity is 
that property of the causality of irrationals, whereby 
their activity is excited and determined by the influence 
of foreign causes. 

This explanation of freedom is negative, and there- 
fore unavailing to aid our insight into its essence and na- 
ture; but there emerges from it a positive idea of free- 
dom, much more fruitful : for since causality brings^ with 
it the notion of law, conformably to which, an antecedent 
gives ofliecessity the existence of somewhat else, its se- 
quent ; the idea freedom, though unconnected with mecha- 
nic laws, is not cogitated for that reason as altogether de- 
void of lawj but merely as a causality different in kind, and 
carrying with it laws suited to that generic difference ; for 
if otherwise, a free will were a chimera. The mechanical 


necessity observed in the physical system is lieteronomy 
in causation, where each event happens only by virtue of 
somewhat else foreign to the cause determining its effi- 
ciency. On the contrary, freedom of will is autonomy, 
i. e. that property of will by which it determines its own 
causality, and gives itself its own law. But the position, 
the will is in every action a law to itself, is equivalent to 
the position that it acts from no maxim unfit to be objec- 
tively regarded as law universal. This, however, tallies 
with the formula of the categorical imperative, i. e. with 
the supreme principle of morality. Whence it results 
that a freewill, and a will subjected to the moral law, are 
one and identic. 

Upon the hypothesis, then, of freedom of will, mora- 
lity and its formula are arrived at by a mere analysis of 
the idea. The formula is, however, a pure synthetic pro- 
position a priori, viz. a good will is one whose maxim can 
always be regarded as law universal ; and no analysis of 
the notion good will can guide to this further one of that 
property of the maxim. Such synthetic propositions are 
alone possible when there is a common and middle term 
combining the extremes which meet in the synthesis. The 
POSITIVE idea freedom is this middle term, which cannot, 
as in physic causes, be any part of the system objected to 
the sensory. Now what this is to which freedom points, 
and of which we have an idea a priori, requires elucida- 
tion ; and to make comprehensible the deduction of the 
idea freedom, together with the grounds of the possibility 
of freedom and a categorical imperative, requires still a 
little preparation. 



Freedom must be postulated as a property of the Will of every 
Intelligent whatsoever. 

It is not enough to attribute freedom to our will, unless 
we have sufficient grounds to ascribe it likewise to every 
reasonable being ; for, since morality is our law, only in so 
far as we are Intelligents, it must be so also for every 
other being endowed with reason : and since it can be 
evolved only from the idea freedom, freedom must be 
represented as the property of every InteKigent's will 
whatsoever. It is not enough to deduce it from exi)eri- 
ence of human nature (although this is impossible, for it 
demands an investigation a priori) ; but it must be evin- 
ced as indissolubly attached to the energy of all beings 
possessed of reason and will. Now, I say that every be- 
ing who can only act under the idea freedom, is^for that 
reason to all practical ends really free ; t. e. aH>Jaws binj^ 
h im, whi c h go han d in hand with th e^^a free dom ^ just 
as much as if his will had been in speculative"pKflosopby 
ascertained to be free ; and I assert farther, that we must 
ascribe to every Intelligent possessed of will the idea free- 
dom, under which idea he can alone act. For in such 
Intelligent we figure to ourselves a reason which is prac- 
tical, t. e. has causality in respect of its objects. Now, it 
is impossible to figure to ourselves any reason conscious 
of receiving any foreign bias in constituting its judgments 
and notions ; for then the person would ascribe the deter- 
mination of his judgments, not to his reason, but to an ex- 
traneous impulse. Reason must therefore regard herself 
as the author of her own principles, independently of fo- 
reign influences. Consequently she has as practical rea- 


son, i. €. as will of an Intelligent, to regard herself as free ; 
that is to say, the will of an Intelligent can he his own 
will only by presupposing freedom ; and this must, 
therefore, for a practical hehoof, be ascribed to all Intel- 
ligents whatsoever. 

Of the Interest indissolubly connected with the Idea qf 

We have now rediic fid the ide a of morality to that of 
freedom of will ; but we have not yet shown such freedom 
to exist as real in human nature. We only saw that we 
must presuppose freedom when we try to figure to our- 
selves an Intelligent conscious of its own causality with 
reference to its own actions, i. e. endowed with will. 
Upon the same grounds, it was requisite to attribute to 
every agent endowed with intelligence and will, a proper- 
ty of determining its own agency by virtue of the idea of 
its own freedom. 

Upon the pre-supposition of those ideas there resulted 
further the consciousness of a law making it imperative 
how to act, viz. that the subjective rules of conduct ought 
always to be so constituted as to be objectively, i. e. uni- 
versally valid, and so fit for proper catholic legislation. 
But still a question may be raised, why am I bound to 
subject myself to this principle ? and that too so sheerly 
as Intelligent that every other Intelligent must be figured 
as standing in the same situation. I admit that no interest 
urges to this subjection; otherwise the categorical impera- 
tive were abrogated. Still I cannot be devoid of all interest 
to do so, nor without interest to comprehend on what such 


interest is based ; for this word shall denotes properly a 
state of WILL valid for all Intelligents, which would alone 
obtain, if reason, unimpeded, were the alone actor. For 
beings like ourselves, affected by sensitive excitements, 
totally different in kind from the causal-laws of reason, .e^ 

and whose actions fall out, vastly discrepant from what ^ 
naked unimpeded reason would have done, such abstract i 
necessity of acting is spoken of as what one should or 
OUGHT, and the subjective is distinguished from the objec- / 
tive necessity. 

It looks very like as if we set out with the idea freedom 
for a vehicle to the moral law, and the principle of the au- 
tonomy of the will, but could not, apart from this presup- 
position, prove the law's reality and proper objective ne- 
cessity. However, even were it so, we should gain a very 
considerable end, viz. the fixing more closely than hereto- 
fore the true foundation of morality, even although we 
should not yet have succeeded in establishing its validity, 
and the practical necessity incumbent on man to subject 
himself to it. And this really has been done, although 
we should never be able to answer satisfactorily the ques- 
tion, why the universal validity of our maxims for laws 
should be a condition limitary of our conduct ; nor yet 
be able to tell whereon we base that worth, figured to 
attach to this mode of conduct, and which is alleged to 
run so high, that no higher interest is at all conceivable ; 
nor whence it happens that man in these circumstances 
alone learns to feel his personal worth, in exchange with 
which a painful or a happy state shrinks equally to no- 

It is found, indeed, that mankind are susceptible of an 
interest in a personal property, unconnected with any 



pleasurable state, provided such personal qualification may 
make us capable of the latter, in the event of a reason 
coming to distribute it ; i. e. that the mere worthiness to 
become happy has an interest abstracted from any regard 
had to such happiness itself. But then this judgment and 
this susceptibility is itself a product of the admitted weight 
and importance of the moral law (when we, by force of 
the idea fi'eedom, detach ourselves from every sensitive ex- 
citement and emotion) ; but how we are at all able thus 
to detach ourselves, i. e. to cogitate ourselves as free, and 
why, in doing so, we ought to find an increased worth in 
our personality, requiting us for every loss we otherwise 
undergo, i. e. upon what grounds the moral law has virtue 
to oblige, cannot be comprehended by dint of the forego- 
ing remarks. 

It seems, I confess, as if the whole argument moved in 
a circle, from which there is no escaping. We assume 

/ ourselves free to explain our subjection to the moral law, 
and then we figure ourselves subjected to this law, be- 
cause we have attributed to ourselves this property of free- 
dom ; for freedom and self-legislation issue both in auto- 
nomy of will, and so are convertible ideas ; from which 
cause it comes that the one cannot be used to explain the 
other, nor can be assigned as its ground, but at the far- 
thest may be put to the logical use of reducing seemingly 

\ different representations of the same object to one single 
\iotion (as in the mathematics, fractions equal, but with 
different denominators, are reduced to similar expressions 
by their common measure). 

Only one escape remains to us from this labyrinth, 
namely, to inquire if we do not occupy an entirely differ- 
ent station, when we regard ourselves, as by means of free- 


dom, spontaneous a priori causes, from that station which 
we hold when we represent to ourselves our actions as 
events in the system we see objected to our senses. 

It is a remark, not calling for much subtle penetration, 
but one made from yore by the most common understand- 
ing, that the representations we are possessed of through 
the intervention of the sensory, never teach knowledge of 
objects otherwise than how they affect us ; and so, what 
they are in themselves remains latent and undiscovered ; 
consequently that, notwithstanding the greatest efforts of 
the understanding with regard to such representations, we 
arrive at knowledge of the appearances of things only, 
and can attain none of things in themselves. So soon as 
this distinction has been made (even did it merely spring 
from the observed difference between the representations 
given us from without, and in receiving which we are pas- 
sive, and those which we produce entirely within our- 
selves, and exert our own self-activity upon them), it fol- 
lows at once, that something must be assumed, lying at 
the bottom of phenomena, which cannot itself again be a 
-phenomenon, viz. the thing itself, although we are at the 
same time perfectly aware, that since we never can know 
it further than how we are affected by it, we can come no 
nearer to it, nor detect its real nature and being. This 
may be the first separation made by man betwixt a cogi- 
table WORLD and the world objected to his senses, 
which sensible system may differ continually with the dif- 
fering sensories of different percipients, although the su- 
persensible system, its groundwork, remain unaltered and 
the same. Nay, even what man knows of his own nature 
and constitution by his inward senses, is an appearance 
only, and no acquaintance with what he is in himself; 


for his perception of himself coming through the sensory 
is a mere phenomenon in nature, and can only take notice 
of the mode in which his consciousness is affected ; and 
yet at the same time he must of necessity pass, from this 
phenomenal composition of himself, to that which lies at 
the bottom of it, viz. his I, figured as a thing in itself. 
Thus man, in regard of his sensory and receptive faculties, 
deems himself a part of the sensible system ; hut in re- 
gard of that within him, which may be his own pure spon- 
taneity {i. €. that which is immediately present to consci- 
ousness, without any modification of the sensory), he deems 
himself likewise a member of a cogitable and unseen 
SYSTEM, of which he has however no knowledge. 

This conclusion must follow and hold with regard to 
every thing presenting itself to man : probably it obtains 
to some extent in every human understanding ; for the 
most untutored have always been inclined to figure to 
themselves an invisible and unknown at the back of the 
objects impinging on their sensory, and have expected to 
find there somewhat self-active ; but then they immedi- 
ately ruin this discovery by giving this invisible an exter- 
nal and tangible configuration, and so halt on the thres- 
hold of discovery. 

Now, in point of fact, mankind finds himself endowed 
with a function, by which he distinguishes himself from 
all other objects, nay even from himself, in so far as he is 
affectable through the sensory ; and this function or power 
is REASON. This, as pure self-activity, transcends in ex- 
cellence even the faculty of understanding; for though 
this last is likewise self-activity, and does not, like the 
sensory, contain mere representations which result from 
its re-action, when impressed by things, yet it begets 



no conceptions, excepting only such as serve to regu- 
and so to combine them in the identity of self-conscious- 
ness, without which union and combination of perceptibles 
the intellect could furnish no thought. Whereas reason, 
in supplying the ideas, shows so original and high a power 
of pure spontaneity, that it passes altogether beyond the 
field of the sensory, and has for its most principal and 
chief function, to separate and disjoin the sensible and 
cogitable systems ; and, by assigning the limits and boun- 
daries of these respectively, to fix at the same time those 
laws beyond which the understanding cannot pass. 

Hence it happens that a reasonable agent must, as In- 
telligent, cogitate himself a member, not so much of 
the sensible, but rather of the supersensible system. He 
has therefore two stations from which to regard himself, 
and a twofold set of laws regulating the conduct and exer- 
cise of his powers. The onb kind of laws import hete- 
ronomy, and subjection to the mechanism and necessity of 
the physical system. The second connect him with a 
cogitable system, are quite independent on mechanic in- 
fluences, and have their gi'ounds in nowise in the physical 
system, but in reason only. 

As Intelligent, and member of a cogitable world, man- 
kind can represent to himself his proper causality only 
by force of the idea freedom ; for independence ofr the de- 
termining causes of the physical system (which indepen- 
dency reason must always attribute to itself) is freedom ; 
but to the idea freedom that of autonomy is indissolubly 
attached ; and with this last there goes hand in hand the 
principle of morality, wliich does in idea He at the bottom^ 
of the actions of every rational, in exactly the same 


way as laws of nature lie at the bottom and are the 
groundwork of all phenomena. 

And now the suspicion previously stated is removed, as 
if there were a latent and vicious circle in our concluding 
from freedom upon autonomy, and from autonomy upon 
the moral law ; as if we set out with the idea freedom 
merely for the sake of the moral law, and in order to de- 
duce this law from it, and so could give no account, and 
could assign no grounds for this idea, but had begged it 
merely as a principle, which the charitable might kindly 
grant us, but which could never be set up as a position 
resting on its own independent grounds. For now we see 
that, cogitated as free, we transplant ourselves into a su- 
persensible system, whereof we recognise the law of au- 
tonomy, and its sequel morality ; but that again, when 
we figure ourselves obliged or beholden to an act, we re- 
gard ourselves as members at once both of the sensible 
and of the cogitable systems. 

How is a Categorical Imperative possible ? 

Every reasonable being reckons himself on the one hand 
as Intelligent in a cogitable system ; and merely as an 
efficient in this system does he call his causality a will. 
On the other hand, he is conscious that he is a part of the 
physical or sensible system into which actions step forth, 
as the mere appearances or phenomena of that causality, 
the possibility of which, however, cannot be understood, 
as they have a descent from sources we know nothing of; 
but which appearances must, on the contrary, be regard- 
ed as determined by other and antecedent phenomena, 



namely, appetites and desires obtaining in the physical 
system. Regarded purely as an inhabitant of the cogi- 
table world, all man's actions would exactly tally with 
the autonomy of a pure will ; while, again, regarded as a 
mere link in the chain of causes and events, all human 
actions are locked up under mechanic laws (heteronoray), 
and would ensue exactly according to the physical im- 
pulses given by instincts and solicitations in the sensory. 
But because the world of Noumena contains within 

NOMENA, BUT ALSO OF THIS last's LAWS, I, as Intelli- 
gent, though likewise a phenomenon, must recognise my- 
self as immediately attached to the intellectual law of the 
first, i. e. of reason, which by the idea freedom gives a 
law, and ordains autonomy of will ; from which it follows, 
that the laws of the cogitable and noumenal world are 
immediate and categorical imperatives ; and the actions 
flowing from these principles it behoves me to judge of as 

Thus categorical imperatives are seen and comprehend- 
ed to be possible, the idea freedom making me an inhabi- 
tant of a cogitable system ; where, were I such alone, my 
every action would fall out in harmony with autonomy of 
will, and, so far as I am likewise connected with a differ- 
ent but dependent system, ought and should so harmonize ; 
WHICH CATEGORICAL SHOULD, expresses a synthetic pro- 
position a priori ; the constitution and origin of which 
synthesis is understood and comprehended, when we un- 
derstand, tliat over and above my consciousness of a will, 
stimulated by sensitive instincts and wants, there is super- 
added an idea of the very same will, but figured to be in 
a cogitable system, as pureseif-active will, which likewise 


contains in it the last grounds and supreme conditions of 
the other :— pretty much as where, over and above the in- 
tuitions of the sensory, there are superadded notions of the 
understanding, which notions are in themselves nothing 
but legislative forms, and yet constitute, by the conjunc- 
tion, synthetic propositions a priori, on which all know- 
ledge of physics and of the laws of nature rests. 

The practical use of the plainest understanding corro- 
borates the accuracy of this investigation. No one, not 
even the most hardened ruffian, can fail to wish a change 
of state and character, when he has laid before his men- 
tal vision examples of sincerity and plain dealing, of un- 
wavering steadfastness in adhering to good resolutions, of 
active sympathy, of inward good will, and universal bene- 
volence. Such he too would willingly become, but he finds 
he cannot, in consequence of appetites and perturbations 
obtaining in his sensory ; and this forces from him the fur- 
ther wish that he were disenthralled from the bondage of 
a servitude now felt to be intolerable. He therefore de- 
monstrates, that he, by force of the idea of a will defecat- 
ed from the perturbations of the sensory, does in thought 
waft himself into an order of things where none such in- 
trude, and where he expects no real or imaginary gra- 
tification, but expects singly an advancement of the in- 
ward worth of his personality. This better person, how- 
ever, mankind figures himself to be, when he regards 
himself, in his station, as an inhabitant of the cogitable 
system, whitherwards the idea freedom {i. e. independency 
on the determinators of the physical system) must of ne- 
cessity transplant him. There he is conscious of a good 
will, and recognises it as the law and standard for his 
wayward and phenomenal one. What he therefore mo- 


rally should and ought, he sees to be his own proper ne- 
cessary will, as member of a cogitable world; and he 
speaks of this his necessary will under the term shall, 
when, recognising its authority, he considers himself at the 
same time as residing in the system objected to his senses. 

Of the Extreme Verge of all Practical Philosophy. «=ra^ 

All men regard themselves, quoad their wills, as free ; 
hence comes those judgments passed with regard to ac- 
tions, that they ought to have happened, although in 
fact and event they happen kot. This freedom is no 
conception taken from experience and observation, for it 
remains unaltered, even while all experience exhibits the 
very contrary of what, according to laws of freedom, ought 
to be; and yet, on the other hand, it is equally necessary to 
think of every event as inevitably determined by laws of 
nature. And this necessity in the physical sequences, is no 
conception either, borrowed from observation and experi- 
ence ; for it is the notion of a necessity, and is part of 
knowledge a priori. Now this conception of a necessary- 
nexus in the physical system is substantiated by expe- 
rience, nay behoved to be presupposed, if experience and 
observation, {i. e. regular and uniform knowledge of the 
i objects of sense,) are to be possible. Hence freedom is 
1 only an idea of reason, and the objective reality of it is 
doubtful ; but the mechanic nexus is a notion of the 
understanding, and proves its reality in experience and 
observation, and must prove it. 

Thus reason finds itself involved in a dialectic, for the 
freedom attributed to it seems to collide with the necessity 


obtaining in thephysical system. And altliougli, in this di- 
lemma, reason, for speculative purposes, finds the path 
of mechanical necessity much smoother, and more unim- 
peded, yet, for all practical ends, she finds the nar- 
row path of freedom the alone and single, along which 
she can exert herself in action. Hence the most subtle 
philosophy, and the plainest understanding, have both 
found it alike impossible to quibble themselves out of 
freedom : they have therefore been both conscious at bot- 
tom, that there was no real contradiction betwixt freedom 
and the laws of nature, considered both as regulating hu- 
man actions ; for reason can no more give up the notion 
of nature, than she can divest herself of the idea freedom. 

But at any rate, the appearance of contradiction must be 

f removed, although how freedom is possible remains totally 

incomprehensible ; for if the idea freedom be repugnant 

to itself, or to the causal laws of nature, which are just as 

necessary, it must be abandoned for the sake of the latter. 

But this contradiction cannot be avoided, unless the 
subject attributing to itself freedom, thinks itself under 
different relations, when it at one time calls itself 
free, and yet regards the same action as fixed and subject- 
ed to the causal mechanic law determining phenomena. 
The problem is one which cannot be declined by reason, 
at least to show that the deceptive appearance of contra- 
diction consists in this, that we cogitate mankind in a to- 
tally different point of view when we deem him free from 
what we regard him in when, as a phenomenon in space 
and time, we deem him subjected to their laws. Nay, to 
show further, that these two are not only consistent, but 
must of necessity be combined in the same subject, since 
we could not otherwise assign a ground why reason is to 


be embarrassed with an idea, not perhaps giving the lie di- 
rect to an old and well-established notion, but which idea 
exposes her to a very unnecessary and needless dilemma. 
This duty is incumbent on speculative philosophy, that it 
mayprepare the way for the practical ; there is therefore no 
option left to the philosopher, whether he will solve this 
seeming enigma, or leave it uninvestigated ; for if he do 
this last, he leaves the theory concerning freedom a bo- 
num vacaTis, which the first coming fatalist may seize on 
as unoccupied, and expel morals, as usurping grounds to 
which she can show no title. 

However, it is not here the outer verge and border of 
practical philosophy is descried, for the difficulty just 
mentioned does not fall under its province, but is for 
speculative reason to make an end of, that it may warrant 
to practical reason secure and easy possession against all 
assailants of the domain on which she intends to erect her 

The legal title on which reason claims her freedom of 
, will, is grounded on the consciousness and admitted pre- 
I supposition of reason's independency on merely subjec- 
tively determined causes, which aggregately compose what- 
ever is of the nature of sensation, and passes under the ge- 
neral name of seiisory* Mankind, Considered as thns in- 
dependent and intelligent, wafts himself, when he does so, 
into another order of things, and into a relationship with 
determining gi'ounds of quite another kind (as intelligence 
endowed with will, i. e. causality) from those with which 
he is connected when he perceives himself a phenomenon 
objected to his senses (which likewise he most certainly 
is), and finds his causality subjected to foreign determina- 
tors, according to mechanic laws. Now he immediately 


becomes aware that both states may co-exist, nay, that in 
point of fact they must do so ; for, that a thing as it ap- 
pears, and as part of sensible phenomena, is aifected by 
certain laws, on which it, the same thing, not as appear- 
ance, but AS A REAL, ACTUAL THING IN ITSELF, is indepen- 
dent, is in nowise a contradiction; and that mankind 
must reflect of himself in this twofold light, rests first on 
his consciousness of his being an object in the sensible 
system, and then, second, on his consciousness of himself 
as Intelligent, i. e. as in his originary use of reason, in- 
dependent on sensitive impressions, i. e. detached from 
them, and in a cogitable state. 

Hence also it happens that mankind deems himself the 
potential possessor of a will which tramples under foot 
whatever is the mere progeny of appetite and want, and 
represents actions to be by it not only possible, but neces- 
sary, which can alone be performed by casting behind-back 
and discarding every inclination and excitement of the sen- 
sory. Thiswill'scausality resides within him as Intelligent, 
and has its origin and seat in the laws of a cogitable world ; 
of which world, however, mankind knows nothing further 
than that therein reason, naked reason, i. e. reason defecat- 
ed from every perturbation of the sensory, has alone the 
sway; and since it is there alone that, as Intelligent, man- 
kind is properly himself (whereas here he is but an ap- 
pearance of that self), that sway and dominion of reason 
concern him immediately and categorically. Nor can 
the whole stimulants in the phenomenal system affect or 
impair in any way the laws of his intellectual will ; so 
much so, that he counts not these stimulants as his, but 
acquits himself of them as irresponsible. These he im- 
putes not to his proper self, i. e. his will ; but to himself 


alone any indulgence whereby he may incline to them, 
and allow them any influence derogatory to the authority 
of the law objected by reason to his will. 

Nor does reason overstep her bounds, in cogitating 
herself in, into a supersensible state ; but she would then, 
when she pretended to feel herself into it, or by intui- 
tion to ENVISAGE herself there. Such supersensible is a 
mere idea, negative of the sensible world, which gives no 
laws to determine reason ; and is in this point alone posi- 
V tive — that freedom, although a negative quality, carries 
^ with it a positive function and causality of reason called 
i will, enabling man so to act that the principle of his con- 
duct may tally with the essential constitution of all causal 
reasons ; i. e. the condition, that a reasonable agent's max- 
ims of conduct should be at all times fit for law universal. 
But when reason attempts to draw down an object of 
WILL from the cogitable world, then she oversteps her li- 
mits, and affects a knowledge where she knows nothing. 
The notion of a cogitable system is a mere station which 
reason needs for a fulcrum to lift itself out of the mass of 
appearances, and cogitate itself as sui-active. This, 
however, mankind could not at all do, if sensitive excite- 
ments necessarily determined the human will ; but which 
he must inevitably do, unless self-consciousness, as in- 
telligent and spontaneous reason, is to be denied. This 
conception leads no doubt to the idea of a different order 
of things, and of a legislation totally diverse from laws 
obtaining over the mechanic events in nature, and renders 
the representation of a cogitable world {i. e. the aggregate 
of Intelligents as things-in-themselves) necessary and in- 
evitable. But all this takes place without the smallest 
pretence to know any thing of the laws obtaining there, 


excepting only the formal condition of them, viz. the 
potential universality of the maxims of their wills for law ; 
that is, their autonomy, which alone can consist with free- 
dom ; whereas all laws whatsoever, grounded on an ob- 
ject, beget heteronomy, and can take place singly in me- 
chanic nexus and a physical system. 

But reason would indeed overstep all bounds and li- 
mits were she to undertake an explanation, how pure 
reason can be spontaneous and self-practical? a problem 
perfectly identic with this one, to explain how frkedom 
OF will is possible. 

For we can explain nothing which we cannot reduce to 
laws, the object of which is given, or at least may be given, 
in observation and experience ; whereas freedom is a bare 
idea, and its objective reality cannot be exhibited or ex- 
plained by laws of the physical system, i. e. is nowhere 
found in observation and experience ; and since no exam- 
ple or analogy can be supplied to it, its reality can never 
become either comprehended or understood. It is valid 
I inaerely as a necessary hypothesis for that reason which be- 
' lieves itself possessed of will, ^. e. of a function superior to 
mere powers of desire ; namely, a function to determine it- 
self to act as pure intelligence, upon grounds of reason, and 
independently on physical instincts. Now, where events 
cease to be regulated by physic laws, there all explana- 
tion is at end ; and all that remains is to defend our pos- 
session of the idea, that is, to repel the attacks of those 
who pretend to see farther into the nature of things than 
others, and who boldly pronounce freedom an absurdity. 
And we can show them, that the contradiction they ima- 
gine they have found out, lies only in their refusing to 
regard man in his twofold character; and that when, in 


order to support the unvai'iedness of the causal law in re- 
spect of human actions, they consider nian of necessity as 
a phenomenon in the physical system, and are then further 
required to figure to themselves man as Intelligent, and 
not as an appearance, but a thing in itself, they still per- 
sist in regarding him as in space and time; in which case, 
indeed, to separate his causality {i. e. his will) from the 
laws obtaining there, is impossible, and an absurdity ; 
which difficulty vanishes entirely if they would bethink 
•themselves, as reason calls on them to do, that beyond 
phenomena must needs be things-in-themselves, althougli 
latent, — the laws of which last cannot be expected to turn 
out identic with the laws under which their appearances 

This subjective impossibility to explain the freedom 
of the will is identic with the impossibility to investigate 
or explain the interest* mankind takes in the moral 
law; and although he has such interest, the groundwork 
of which is called the moral sense, no further account of 
it can be given. The feeling itself has been falsely declared 
to be the standard and guide of our ethical judgments, 

• Interest is that whereby reason becomes a cause practically determin- 
ing the will. Hence we say of rationals only, that they have an interest 
in anywhat ; irrationals have no more than an appetite or instinct. 
Reason takes an immediate interest in an action only then, when the 
universal validity of its maxim is the exclusive determinative of the 
will. Such an interest is the alone pure. Again, the interest taken by 
reason in an action is then indirect and oblique, when some object of de- 
sire or particular feeling of the subject is pre-required to determine the 
choice ; and since abstract reason cannot assign any objects of desire, nor 
beget any feeling pointing to such object, but these arise from observa. 
tion and experience singly, such latter interest is no pure interest of 
reason, but is one adulterated with a posteriori grounds. Even the logi- 
cal interest of reason is not immediate, but rests on the end and aim 
it may have of advancing its speculative extent. 


whereas it is the inward effect exercised by the law upon 
the will, the objective grounds of which reside in reason. 
In order to will what reason ordains that man ought 
and should, this last must have a function enabling it to 
beget A FEELING OF AMENITY, in the carrying its law into 
execution — in other words, in discharging duty; conse- 
quently, reason must have a causality of its own, adapted 
for determining the sensory according to its own princi- 
ples. It is, however, altogether impossible to comprehend 
how a naked thought, containing in it nothing of the sen- 
sory, can bring forth an emotion of pleasure or pain ; for 
it is a peculiar kind of causality, and of it, like every 
other kind of causality, we can predicate nothing a 'priori.^ 
but see ourselves compelled to interrogate experience. 
Observation and experience, however, teach no other rela- 
tion betwixt cause and effect, than the relation obtaining 
betwixt one phenomenon and another; and, in the case 
we are considering, reason is, by its ideas (which no ex- 
perience reaches), the cause of an effect, which last alone 
lies within observation and experience ; whence we see, 
that an explanation, how and why the universal vali- 
dity OF A MAXIM FOR LAW {%. 6. MORALITY) should inte- 
rest mankind, is quite unattainable. Only thus much is 
certain, that morality is not valid for man because it 
INTERESTS HIM (for that were heteronomy and depen- 
dency of the will on sense), but that it interests — be- 
cause it has validity for man — because its law springs 
from our very intellectual being, and from what is man's 
proper self; now, whatever {e. g. the interest) is 



The question, how a categorical imperative is possible, 
may therefore be thus far replied to, that we can assign the 
alone hypothesis on which such imperative can be founded, 
viz. freedom ; and it is replied to, in so far as we can com- 
prehend the necessity of this postulate freedom, which is 
sufficient for the practical conduct of reason, i, e. to a 
practical conviction of the authority and validity of the 
imperative, that is, generally of the morallaw. Buthowthe 
hypothesis itself comes to be possible, is what no human 
reason can comprehend. Upon the hypothesis of freedom 
of will, AUTONOMY, the formal condition of its determina- 
tion was inferred as a necessary sequel ; to postulate 
which freedom of will, is not only possible, but is un- 
conditionally NECESSARY, for a being conscious of its in- 
tellectual causality, that is, of a will, which it distinguish- 
es from its desires ; which postulate it must likewise ap- 
ply to the PRACTICAL use of every voluntary action. But 
how naked reason, independently of every other spring, 
can be itself active and spontaneous, i. e. how the mere 
principle of the validity of its maxims for universal laws, 
independently on every object man may be interested in, 
can be itself a spring to action, and beget an interest 
which is purely ethical; to explain this, I say, how 
REASON CAN BE THUS PRACTICAL, is quitc bcyond the 
reach and grasp of all human thought, and the labour and 
toil bestowed on any such inquiry is fruitless and thrown 

An inquiry instituted to this effect would be just the 
same as if I were to try to fathom how freedom is, as a cau- 
sality of will, possible; forlthenquit all philosophic grounds 
of explanation, and have none other. I might no doubt give 
my fancy reins, and let it run riot through a cogitable 



region which still remains. But though I have a well- 
grounded IDEA of such a state, I have no knowledge of 
it whatever, and can acquire none by any stretch of 
thought. The idea denotes a mere somewhat (cogitable) 
Avhich remains when eveiy sensitive excitement is exclud- 
ed from the will ; and this exclusion is had recourse to, 
in order to show that the sensible system is not all in all, 
but that beyond lies somewhat ulterior. But this ulterior 
is a vast unknown and blank. When reason thinks of 
such an ideal state, and abstracts from all known objects, 
there remains nothing except the form (of reason itself), 
viz. the law of the universal validity of its maxims ; and 
in harmony with this, reason, as therein an agent, i. e. a 
cause determining volition. Every spring is here awant- 
ing and abstracted from, unless, indeed, the idea of this 
cogitable state be itself the spring, i. e. that in which rea- 
son takes its originary interest ; but to make this com- 
prehensible, is just the problem we have declared in- 
sol uble. 

Here, then, is the utmost verge of all ethical inquiry, 
to fix the just bounds and limits of which is of very great 
importance ; for it provides reason with a guard against 
seeking in the sensible system for its last determinator, 
and finding there, to the utter ruin of all morality, a phy- 
sical and comprehensible interest ; and it likewise fur- 
nishes a guard whereby reason is prevented from impo- 
tently flapping its wings and attempting to soar in the 
blank void of impossible ideas, and, without moving from 
the spot, disorienting itself amid chimeras. The idea of 
a pure cogitable world, as an aggregate of reasonable be- 
ings, to which ourselves belong (although still parts in a 
physical system), is a most fertile and allowed idea for the 


l>ehoof of a reasonable faith, all knowledge falling short 
on this side of it. Nor can the August Ideal of an 
Universal Kingdom of Ends in themselves fail to excite 
in man a lively interest in the moral law, since man- 
kind can only then figure themselves its inhabitants, when 
they most industriously adhere to the imperatives of free- 
dom, as if they were necessary laws of the physical system. 

Conclusion of the Groundwork. 

Speculative reason, when examining the physical sys- 
tem, arrived at the idea of an absolute necessity contain- 
ed in some last and supreme cause of the world. Prac- 
tical reason, reflecting on its actions, arrives also at 
an absolute necessity (in freedom), a necessity extend- 
ing no further than to the laws of the actions of a 
reasonable being considered as such. Now it is a fun- 
damental principle of all use of reason, to carry back all 
knowledge to a consciousness of its necessity (and where 
this is not done, the knowledge does not rest on grounds of 
reason) ; and yet it is a limit as invariably put to it, that 
cannot comprehend this necessity, either of what bap- 
pens, or of what ought to happen, unless it is able to 
assign some condition as a ground upon which some- 
what either is or ought to be. In this way, by continual- 
ly requiring farther and farther conditions, the insight 
and satisfaction of reason is postponed. In this restless 
state reason is driven on the unconditionally necessary, 
and is forced upon it, although it cannot by any means 
comprehend such unconditionate necessity, and deems 
itself happy when it impinges on an idea able to support 



the load of such a liypothesis. It is therefore no fault of 
this deduction and inquiry into the supreme and last prin- 
ciple of morality, but an objection which it behoved to 
make to human reason itself, that it cannot make com- 
prehensible the absolute necessity of an unconditioned 
practical law, which unconditionate necessity the catego- 
rical imperative must have ; for that reason refuses to ex- 
plain it by adopting the further condition of an interest 
attaching to it, can be no reproach to reason, since in 
such event the imperative would cease to be a moral, i. e. 
supreme law of freedom, and so we cannot comprehend 
the unconditionate practical necessity of the ethical impe- 
rative, but we comprehend why it is incomprehensible ; 
and this is as much as can be reasonably demanded from 
a system of philosophy which has for its object to inves- 
tigate the reach and extent of the faculty of reason. 





Practical principles are propositions contain- 
ing different rules, subordinate to them, which may 
be grounds of determining the will. They are either 
subjective, and are called maxims, when the rule 
is considered as of force only in reference to the 
thinking subject himself; or they are objective, and 
are called laws, when reason pronounces the rule to 
have an ethical virtue of obliging all reasonable be* 


If it be admitted that reason contains in itself practi- 
cal grounds sufficient for determining the will, then there 
are practical laws ; but if otherwise, then are there no 
more than practical maxims. Where a will is pathologi- 
cally affected, there a collision of maxims is conceivable ; 
nay, they may even militate against laws which the think- 
ing subject himself admits to be objected to his will by 
reason. Thus, an individual may adopt the maxim to let 
no injury pass unavenged, and at the same time he may 


see very clearly that that principle is no law, but simply 
a maxim of his own; and that if such a maxim were 
raised to the rank of a law in a general code or system of 
moral legislation, it would become self-destructory, and 
inconsistent with itself. In natural philosophy, princi- 
ples regulating what happens (events) (e. g. the principle 
of the equality of action and re-action in communi- 
cating motion ) are also laws of nature ; for in physics 
the use of reason is theoretic, and determined by the 
nature of the object. But in moral philosophy, where 
determinators of volition are alone inquired into, the rules 
or principles which a person may adopt to regulate what 
happens (actions), are not in any sense laws inevitably put 
upon him ; for reason is here practical, and has to do with 
the appetitive faculty of the subject, according to the na- 
ture and qualities of which, the rule may be variously mo- 
dified. Every practical rule is a product of reason ; for 
it prescribes an act as a mean toward an end, which is 
intended. But such a rule is, in the case of a being whose 
reason is not the sole determinator of his choice, an im- 
perative, i. e. a rule expressed by the word shall or 
OUGHT, and it denotes the objective necessity of an ac- 
tion, and implies that, if the will were guided by reason 
singly, the action would follow according to the rule. 
Imperatives have therefore an objective import, and so 
differ totally from maxims, which are subjective singly. 
They determine the causality of an agent either in regard 
of the effect or purpose to be reached, or they determine 
the causality simpliciter. In the first case, the imperatives 
are hypothetical, and are no more than rules of art ; but, 
in the second, they are categoric and absolute, and these 
alone are practical laws regulating conduct. While, then, 


maxims may be regarded as rules, they never can be con» 
sidered as imperatives. Even imperatives, when no more 
than conditional determinators of the will, i. e. when they 
determine the will, not as such simply, but as a mean to- 
ward some desired effect, are not laws, but practical pre- 
cepts only. Laws must determine the will, as will, and do 
not even depend on the question, whether the subject pos- 
sess the power requisite for some desired end : they are 
equally independent of the particular line of conduct con- 
ducive to it ; i. e. they are categoric ; and if they were not 
so they would not be laws, being deficient in necessity, — 
a practical necessity, being only possible to be conceived 
where the will is defecated thoroughly from all patholo- 
gical and contingent circumstances which may attach to 
it. When it is said that a man must exert himself in 
youth and be thrifty, that he may not starve when he is 
old, a true and important rule of conduct is advanced ; 
but what is to be observed with regard to this rule is, that 
the will is referred to somewhat out of and beyond itself, 
of which it is presumed it makes a choice ; and it must be 
left to the individual himself whether he so choose or no ; 
whether he may expect funds from other sources than his 
own industry ; whether he think he may live to old age ; 
or whether he may keep himself by stealing when he 
comes to want. Reason, from which alone a rule expres- 
sive of necessity can emanate, lends a necessity to the 
foregoing precept (for, apart from its necessity, it were no 
imperative) ; but such necessity is subjectively t'^'idition- 
al, and cannot be supposed of all thinking beings equally. 
But, for a legislation of reason, nothing farther can be re- 
quired than that it presuppose itself, since, in this event 
alone, can a rule be objectively and universally valid, no 


subjective contingent cii'cumstances being introduced dis- 
tinguishing one reasonable being from another. Now, let it 
be said that none oughtto promise deceitfully, and we 
have a rule which respects the will singly, and takes no cog- 
nizance of any ulterior aim or intention which a man may 
have, and is hence independent of the consideration of any 
such aim being attainable or not. It is the naked volition 
which is given as determined a priori by the rule. Again, 
suppose that the above rule be correct and true, then it is 
law ; for the imperative it expresses is categoric. All 
practical laws refer to will, quite irrespective of any ef- 
fects which its causality may produce, whence abstracting 
from " those," we may consider " </w«" as it is a priori. 


All practical principles which pre-suppose an ob- 
ject, or matter chosen, as a determinator of the will, 
are one and all of them taken from experience and 
observation, and, being a posterimit cannot supply a 
law of acting. 


By the matter of a choice, I understand an object, the 
existence of which is desired. When the desire of this 
object goes before the practical rule, and is the condition 
determining it, then I say, first, such rule is always a pos- 
teriori ; for the determinator of choice is then the repre- 
sentation of an object, and the relation subsisting between 
the representation and the subject, whereby the choice is 
determined to realize the object. This relation, however, 


is called pleasure in the existence of" the object. This 
pleasure must therefore be pre-supposed as a condition 
pre(;edent to the possibility of such determination of the 
choice. Now it is impossible to know a priori, in any 
case, whether the representation of an object is to be ac- 
companied with pleasure or not ; whence it follows that 
the determinator of the choice is a posteriori in such event, 
as is likewise the material principle of acting which rests 
on it as a condition. 

Again, I say, secondly, that since a principle which is 
based on the susceptibility of an individual for pleasure or 
pain is known only by an induction a posteriori, and can- 
not be extended to other agents perhaps not endowed with 
any similar or the same capacity, it may become a max- 
im, but can never be law, not even fojr this individual ; 
for it is devoid of objective necessity, which is always a 
priori. A material principle can therefore never yield a 
practical law regulating conduct. 


All material practical principles, however different, 
agree in this, that they belong to one general system 
of Eudaimonism, and rest on self-l(5ve. 

The pleasure arising from the representation of the 
existence of a thing, when a determinator of the 
choice towards that thing rests on the susceptibility 
of the individual, and depends on the existence of the 
thing, and belongs for this reason to the sensory and 
not to the understanding, because this last refers a 
representation to the object by the intervention of a 


notion, and does not refer it to the subject by the in- 
tervention of a feeling. The pleasure is consequently 
only in so far practical, as the agreeable sensation ex- 
pected by the individual from the object determines 
his choice. But the consciousness of agreeable sensa- 
tions, regarded as uninterrupted through the whole 
course of life, constitutes happiness; and the ruling 
principle to make regard to one's own happiness the 
supreme and single determination to action, is the 
principle which is justly called self-love; consequent- 
ly all material principles which put the determinator 
of choice in the pleasure or pain resulting from the 
existence of an object, are to this extent all of the 
SAME KIND — that they belong to a system of Eudai- 
monism, and rest on one's own self-love. 

Corollary. — Every material rule assigns a de- 
termination of choice taken from the lower powers 
OF DESIRE singly ; and were there no formal law of 
the will sufficient to determine it, it would needs fol- 
low that there existed no superior power of de- 
sire at all. 


It is quite surprising that men, otherwise acute, should 
have imagined that they had detected the difference be- 
twixt the HIGHER and inferior powers of desire, by ob- 
serving whether the representation productive of plea- 
sure sprang from the sensory or from the understand- 


ing; for when inquiry is made as to the determinator 
of a choice, and the grounds of that determination be put 
in the agreeable sensation expected from an object, it 
is of no moment from what faculty the representation 
springs, but this alone is to be considered, how much the 
representation pleases or delights. If a representation, 
which may have its seat in the understanding, is only able 
to determine the choice by presupposing a pleasurable 
sensation in the subject, then it is clear that the deter- 
mination depends on the peculiar constitution of the sen- 
sory, and its susceptibility for an emotion of delight. It 
is of no consequence to insist that the representations of 
objects are widely different, according as they are, of the 
understanding, of reason, or of the sensory ; for the feeling 
of pleasure, by which the will is put into motion, is in 
either of these UiEfifi-xases exactly of the same kind,^both 
by being known only a posteriori, and by its stimulating 
the same vital function. The different agreeable sensations 
which may therefore determine the will, differ merely in 
degree ; and if this were not so, it were impossible that 
any man could compare different representatious, spring- 
ing from different faculties, so as to prefer one before the 
other; and yet an individual may throw aside a useful 
book not to neglect a hunting match ; the very same man 
may quit listening to a most pathetic harangue, not to be 
too late for dinner, or leave a most interesting party, and 
for whom he has the highest esteem, to adjourn to a gam- 
ing table ; nay, a benevolent man, otherwise fond of giving 
alms, may turn away a poor object because he has just 
so much money in his pocket as will pay his entrance into 
the theatre. If the motive determining the will turn on 
the pleasure or pain expected from a representation, it 


must be quite indiflFerent to the individual what kind of 
representation aflFects him ; his sole concern in determining 
his choice must be how intense, how durable, how^easily 
acquired and repeated, may be the gratification; just as it is 
indifferent to the man who is about to pay away his money, 
whether the gold of which his coin consists has been dug 
out of a mine or washed from the sand, pi'ovided it pass 
current in either case for the same value. A man, there- 
fore, whose concern rises no further than to pass happily 
through life, is perfectly indifferent whether a represen- 
tation of the sensory or of the understanding delight him, 
provided the enjoyment be equally gi'eat and equally dur- 
able in both cases. But, clear though this be, those who 
deny the power of reason to determine by itself the will, 
have continually embarrassed this matter by their bad de- 
finitions ; first holding certain sensations to be pleasures, 
and then pronouncing them somewhat totally diverse. 
Thus they observe that sustained exertion, that consci- 
ousness of force of will in overcoming great obstacles 
presented to the execiition of our resolves, that the cul- 
ture of the mind, impart high degrees of gratification ; and 
that mankind 4eem them more refined, because they are 
more in our own power, do not wear out by usage, but 
rather strengthen our susceptibility for such enjoyment, 
and so expand the mind while they delight it : upon 
these grounds they conclude, that such pleasures deter- 
mine the will in a totally different manner from the plea- 
sure of the senses, and support themselves in this belief 
by inventing a peculiar sense (a moral sense, or sense of 
taste) for their vehicle ; a style this of arguing, which re- 
minds one of those metaphysic quacks who keep cogitating 
•*^ matter till it become so fine, and supra-fine, that they 


at length fancy it subtilized into spirit. If, like Epicurus, 
we rest virtue on the pleasure it may promise us, it is 
quite inconsistent to tax that philosopher with sottishness 
when he holds the pleasures of virtue as exactly the same 
in kind with the coarsest sensual enjoyment. And it is 
mistaking his system altogether to say that the representa- 
tions by which he expected to be delighted, have their ori- 
gin alone in the organs of the body. On the contrary, so 
far as we can understand him, he placed many pleasures 
in the culture and use of the intellectual powers ; but this 
ought not, and did not hinder him from regarding plea- 
sures, when stimulating the will, as exactly alike and the 
same in nature. To be rigidly consistent, is the highest 
duty of a philosopher ; and of this we find better examples 
in the old Greek schools than now a-days, when the most 
discordant systems are often forced, by the shallowness of 
their abettors, into a disgraceful coalition, in the hope of 
pleasing the public by giving them a little of everything. 
A system, the principles of which turn on one's own hap- 
piness, no matter how intellectually soever the under- 
standing may be employed on it, can never furnish any 
further motives than such as excite and stimulate the in- 
ferior powers of desire. Either, then, a superior power of 
desire is to be abandoned, or else reason must itself be a 
practical or active faculty; t. e. such a one as can by the 
bare form of its rule determine a volition, and that ab- 
stracted from all feelings of the agreeable or disagreeable 
which may follow or compose the matter of a choice. 
And if reason be such a faculty, then it is not in anywise 
in the service of the sensory, but does itself alone deter- 
mine a volition, and is a superior or supreme power of 
desire, generically distinct from the lower, and claiming 


the supremacy over it. To adulterate the legislation of 
reason with motives borrowed from the sensory, is to im- 
pair its strength, and derogate from its pre-eminence, in 
the same way as a geometric demonstration would he ruin- 
ed, if attempted to he assisted by an induction ; for instead 
of being supported, it would lose its certainty and self- 
evidencing power. 

Reason determines the will simpliciter by its law, and not 
indirectly by the intervention of an emotion, — not even by 
means of pleasure felt in the contemplation of the law 
itself; and it is only because reason is an active faculty, 
that it is possible for it to legislate over the will. 


To be happy, is a desire entertained of necessity by 
every finite intelligence, and is therefore inevitably a 
determinator of choice. Contentment with our state of 
existence is no birth-right of man. If it were, it would 
be fitly termed blessedness, and would consist in the 
consciousness of man's all-sufficiency and independent self- 
contentment. On the contrary, happiness is a problem 
urged upon man's notice by the wants and insufficiency of 
his finite nature. These wants point to the matter of desire, 
i. e. to something affecting man's subjective feelings of 
pleasure and pain ; and these feelings determine what a 
man considers wanting for his happiness and contentment 
with his situation. But because such a material determi- 
nator is subjective singly, and known only by observation 
and experience, it is impossible to regard this question of 
happiness as founding any law or obligation ; a law being, 
as we have seen, objective, and containing a determinator 
of will, valid for all cases and for all intelligents whatever. 


And thouj^h the notion happiness establishes a connection 
and relation betwixt objects and the powers of desire, still 
happiness is only a general denomination for all subjec- 
tive determinators, and nothing is fixed by it specifically, 
which, however, is indispensable towards the solution of 
any problem, and therefore also toward the solution of 
the question of happiness. What different individuals 
may find conducive to their happiness, depends entirely 
on their peculiar tastes and feelings ; and even in the 
same individual his conceptions of happiness vary and 
alter with circumstances, and with the emotions stimulat- 
ing his sensory. So that such subjective laws (although 
NECESSARY as parts of the physical system) are subjec- 
tively contingent (considered as practical principles of con- 
duct), and unfit for law universal, in so far as the appe- 
tite for happiness disregards entirely the formal fitness, 
and considers singly the material fitness of an action to 
produce the greatest amount of pleasure. Principles of 
self-love contain general rules for adapting means to an 
end, and so are merely theoretic or technical principles ; 
e. g. how he who would like to eat bread, has to construct 
a mill. But no practical principle founded on them can 
be necessary, or of catholic extent ; for, when the will acts 
from maxims of self-love, the deter minator of choice is 
based on feelings in the sensory ; and it is uncertain that 
these feelings are universal, not even certain that they are 
unalterable in respect of the same external objects. 

But even supposing that finite Intelligents were at one 
as to their opinions of the agreeable and unpleasant, and 
that they coincided as to the lines of conduct expedient to 
be taken in order to compass the one and avoid the other, 
still the principle of self-love could not be announced as 


a law for practical conduct ; for this uniformity would it- 
self be contingent ; the determinator of choice would be 
given and known from observation and experience singly, 
and could not contain that necessity which is of the es- 
sence of law, i. €. a necessity objected to the mind by 
reason a priori ; at least, if such principles were called 
laws, their necessity must be understood to mean, not a 
practical, but a physical necessitation, and would import 
that human actions followed on the appetites and passions 
by a determinate and fixed mechanism of our frame. But, 
rather than take refuge in such a baseless absurdity, it 
would be more judicious to maintain that there were no 
practical laws at all; for the utilitarian position elevates sub- 
jective principles to the rank of objective laws ; in which 
case, however, their objective necessity behoved to be un- 
derstood from grounds of reason a priori. Even in the 
physical system, the uniform sequences of its phenomena 
are alone called laws, because seen to be so a jjriori ; or 
when, as in chemistry, they are postulated as such, because 
it is presumed they would be so recognised if our facul- 
ties reached farther. But in the case of principles taken 
from the conceptions of self-love (one's own happiness), 
no such hypothesis or postulate is admissible, since it is 
of the very essence of the theory that it rests on subjec- 
tive and not on objective conditions : consequently, that 
the principles it yields can never be more than maxims, 
and are not, without contradiction, cogitable as laws. 
This may seem to a hasty reader a mere subtilizing upon 
words ; however, it concerns the assigning in terms an 
exact formula for the most important distinction which 
enters into the consideration of ethical philosophy. 



If an Intelligent cogitate his maxims as practical 
laws of catholic extent, he can do so singly when his 
maxim is, not by its matter, but by its form, the de- 
terminator of volition. 

The matter of any practical principle is the object 
or end willed ; and this end either determines the 
will, or it does not. If the matter chosen regulate 
the choice, then the rule depends on the relation sub- 
sisting betwixt the feelings of pleasure and pain, and 
the end represented, i. e. on an a posteriori condition ; 
and so the rule is unfit for a practical law. But when 
the matter of a law is taken away, there remains no- 
thing except the form of law in general; therefore 
an Intelligent either cannot in any event cogitate his 
maxims as fit for laws in a code of general moral le- 
gislation, or he must figure to himself that the bare 
form of law by which his maxims fit and are suited for 
catholic legislation, is what can alone render them 
practical laws. 


What form (kind) of maxim is fit for law universal, 
and what not, is plain to the most untutored understand- 
ing ; for instance, a man resolves (i. e. adopts as maxim) 
to augment his income in every secure way. He holds in 
his hands a deposit intrusted to him by one who has just 
died intestate ; and he proposes to apply his maxim to the 



sum in his trust. I now put the question, and ask if 
such maxim would be valid for a law of catholic extent, 
i. e. if Ilia maxim can be announced in the form of a law ; 
and it is directly perceptible that a (practical) law, or- 
daining every one to detain sums committed to his trust, 
when he safely can do so, is absurd and self-destructory ; 
for it would tend to this issue, that no deposit would at 
any time be made, and so the law to break trust would 
effect its own avoidance. What reason recognises as a 
practical law, however, must be fit for law universal (for 
all agents). The proposition is identic, and cannot be 
made plainer. So that, if the will be subjected to a prac- 
tical law, the depositary cannot found on his appetite for 
hoarding as a determinator of choice fit for law universal. 
For, so far from being fit for that, it was seen, when con- 
sidered under the form of a universal law, to be incom- 
patible with itself, and self-annihilating. 

Although the tendency to happiness is universal, as is 
also the maxim by which that tendency is made a determi- 
nator of choice, yet it is surprising that men of understand- 
ing, should for that reason announce this want, as a foun- 
dation for a universal practical law. For, while every 
other law effects uniformity as its result, the law taken 
from a maxim to make one's self happy, would not only 
exhibit the veriest counterpart of such harmony, but would 
annihilate the maxim itself, and frustrate the end designed, 
in making it a law. In the case of utilitarian (greatest 
happiness) principles, all wills have not the same end, but 
each will has its own (its own welfare), which may per- 
haps accord with others, perhaps not, but which at any 
rate gives no certain determinate law, the possible ex- 
ceptions being innumerable ; and that sort of harmony 



mlglit emerge which a satiric poet describes as the con- 
cord of spouses who mutually ruin one another by their 
extravagance, — 

How wonderful their harmony ; 
For what he wills, that wills eke she. 

Or that sort expressed by the message from Francis I. to 
Charles V. " Whatever my brother Charles chooses (Lom- 
bardy), that assure him I choose also." In short, princi- 
ples founded on observation and experience, never can be- 
come the groundwork of any law ; for, to invent one ca- 
pable of reducing to harmony all the appetites and by- 
ends of mankind, and at the same time founded on them, 
is altogether impossible. 

§ 5. PROBLEM I. 

Upon the hypothesis that a maxim is, by its legis- 
lative form singly, the alone valid determinator of 
choice ; to find the nature of a will so determinable. 

Since the abstract form of law in geiiere is cogita- 
ble by the force of reason singly, it is nowhat objected 
to the senses, and so no phenomenon occurring in space 
and time ; and the idea of it, considered as a determi- 
nator of will, is wholly different in kind, from the de- 
terminators of phenomena in the physical system, be- 
cause in this last, the determinator of a phenomenon, 
is, by the law of the causal-nexus, itself also always 
a phenomenon. Again, since, by hypothesis, no de- 
terminator of will was valid as law, except the uni- 
versal legislative form, it follows that such a will is 


quite independent of the causal law by which phe- 
nomena are regulated. But to be independent of the 
law of cause and effect, and of the mechanism of the 
physical system, is freedom, in the strictest sense of 
the word. A will, therefore, whose alone law is the 
legislative form of its maxims, is a free will. 


Conversely. Upon the hypothesis that a will is 
free, to find the law, alone fit for its necessary deter- 

Since the matter of any practical law {i. e. the ob- 
ject of a maxim) can only be given a posteriori, and 
the will is, by the supposition, unaffected by any con- 
ditions a posteriori, and free, and yet cannot be cogi- 
tated as devoid of all law, it remains, that a free will 
must find in the law, somewhat fit for its regulation, 
irrespective of the matter of the law. But when the 
matter of a law is taken away, there remains nothing 
except its legislative form. The legislative form, 
therefore, contained in a maxim, is that which can 
alone determine a free will. 


1 Freedom, and an imperative practical law, reciprocally 
''\ point to one another. I do not here raise the question, 
if they really differ, or if the unconditioned law js not 
identically the same with self-consciousness of pure prac- 
tical reason, and this last again identic witli the po« 


sitive idea freedom ; but I only examine from what our 
knowledge of an unconditioned practical necessity takes 
its rise, — if from the idea freedom, or from the law. That 
it should begin from the former is impossible ; for we 
are conscious of it not immediately, as is seen by our 
first conception of it being negative only. Neither do 
we know our freedom from observation and experience, 
experience teaching only that mechanic law of the causal- 
nexus which is the vei'iest antipart of freedom. It is there- 
fore from the moral law alone, that its original is to be de- 
duced ; for of it, we are instantly conscious, as soon as we 
adopt maxims or resolutions of conduct ; and reason, by 
representing this, as a determinator, far outweighing all 
sensitive considerations, and totally unconnected and inde- 
pendent of them, leads to the idea freedom. And if the 
question is further put, how do we arrive at the conscious- 
ness of the moral law? the answer is the same as in the 
case of any other proposition a priori^ — that we are con- 
scious of a practical law a priori, as we are conscious of 
theoretic ones, by attending to the necessity with which 
reason obtrudes them on the mind ; and by separating from 
them all a posteriori conditions, we arrive, from the first, at 
the idea of a pure will, as, from the last, at the notion of 
a pure understanding. That this is indeed the order in 
which these ideas are ushered into the mind, and that 
morality first reveals to man his inward freedom, and that 
practical reason first proposes to speculative reason its in- 
soluble problems, is plain from this, that since no pheno- 
menon can be explained by help of the idea freedom, and 
since speculative reason was lost in the embarrass arising 
from its Antinomies, no one could have hazarded the in- 
troduction of such an idea into science, had not the moral 


law obtruded and flung it before the mind. This opinion 
is further strengthened by its consistency with what ex- 
perience teaches ; for let any one allege that his sexual 
appetite is so strong as to be quite ungovernable, and put 
the case to him, whether he could not refuse to give his 
passions vent, if he knew he were to be led to instant 
execution if he did so, and there can be no doubt as to 
what his love of life would prompt him to answer ; but 
ask him further, if his sovereign were to order him, upon 
pain of the same death, falsely to swear away the life of 
an obnoxious noble, whether his love of life would induce 
him to do so, or if he thought he could disobey the unjust 
mandate. Whether he would do so or not, he might not 
have confidence in himself to assert, but that he could 
must be admitted, by him, without hesitation ; that is, man 
judges it possible for him to do an act because he is con- 
scious that he ought to do it : and so recognises his in- 
ward freedom, which, apart from the moral law, would 
have remained latent and undiscovered. 


n So act that thy maxims of will might become law 
in a system of universal moral legislation. 


Geometry begins with postulates concerning the draw- 
ing of lines and the fixing of points, and these are prac- 
tical propositions, containing nothing further than the 
supposition that an operation may be performed when 
science requires it ; and they are the sole propositions of 
the mathematics which refer to the existence or non-exis- 


tence of a phenomenon. They are, therefore, practical 
positions, standing under a problematic state of will. But 
in Ethics the practical rule is absolute, and ordains some- 
what to be done, whereby the will is objectively deter- 
mined. Pure self-active (spontaneous) reason being im- 
mediately legislative, the will is cogitated as independent 
on conditions a posteriori ; i. e. as pure will determinable 
by the bare form of law. The fact is startling, and with- 
out any parallel ; for the a priori idea of a potential legis- 
lation is unconditionally announced as law, without hav- 
ing its possibility established from any observation or ex- 
perience, or supported by the fiat of any foreign or exte- 
rior will. 

Our consciousness of this fundamental law is an ulti- 
mate fact of reason, for it issues from no preceding data, 
€. g. the consciousness of freedom, but is thrust upon the 
mind directly as a synthetic a priori proposition, and is 
bottomed on no intuition whatsoever, whether a priori or 
a posteriori. But if the idea freedom were given, then 
would the law be analytic. But the idea is in the first in- 
stance negative singly ; and if it were positive, would re- 
quire an intellectual intuition, as to which there can be no 
question. Lastly, when it is said that this law is given, 
I beg it may be understood that it is not known by obser- 
vation and experience, but that it is the single isolated 
fact of practical reason, announcing itself as originally le- 
gislative. Sic volOf sicjubeo. 

Corollary. — Reason is spontaneg^sly practical, 
and gives that universal law (to man) which is called 
the moral law. 



This fact is undoubted. One needs only to analyse the 
judgments passed by mankind on the lawfulness of their 
own actions, in order to become aware with what unchang- 
ing necessity reason contrasts every maxim of conduct 
with the idea of a pure will, i. e. holds up as a standard, 
itself represented as a priori causal. The above principle 
of morality is authentically announced by reason as law 
for all Intelligents, i. e. for all who have a faculty of de- 
termining their own causality by the representation of a 
rule, i. e. in so far as they are susceptible of actions upon 
system, and so susceptible of practical principles a priori ; 
which last have alone that necessity which reason demands 
in an ultimate position. The moral law is therefore not 
confined to man, but extends over all, even to the Most 
High and Supreme himself; but, in the former case, the 
law is expressed in the formula of an imperative ; for 
although man is cogitated as the possessor of a pure will, 
yet, since he is susceptible of emotions and wants insepa- 
rable from his finite state, he has by no means a holy will, 
i. e. a will incapable of adopting maxims incompatible with 
the law. The moral law is hence to finite Intelligents an 
imperative, expressing a categoric command. 

The relation of such a will to the law is called obliga- 
tion, which signifies necessitation by reason to an act, 
which act again is called duty. A will pathologically af- 
fected is in the state of wish, a state springing from sub- 
jective emotions, and therefore often not in harmony with 
the objective determinator, and so requires an inward in- 
tellectual co-action, i, e. moral necessitation. In the 
case, however, of the Most High and Supreme, his will is 


rightly cogitated as incapable of any maxim not fit for 
law universal. And the idea Holiness, which therefore 
becomes his attribute, excludes all limitary or negative 
laws, and so exalts him far beyond the conceptions of ob- 
ligation and duty. This Holiness of Will is, however, no- 
thing more than a practical idea ; an infinite approxima- 
tion towards which is all that is possible for man or any 
other finite being, and which ideal standard is constantly 
held up to man by the Moral Law, called for that reason 
itself Holy. Steadfastness in this continual advancement, 
and Hope in the unchangeableness of a man's resolves to 
do sOjOi', in one word, virtue, is the utmost a finite reason 
can accomplish ; and since this practical power is deve- 
loped by exercise, and known by observation and expe- 
rience, it can never be fully attained or secured, and the 
confident over-persuasion of such would militate to the 
prejudice of morality. 


Autonomy of will is the alone foundation of mora- 
lity, and of the duties springing from it ; and every 
other principle whatsoever, not only cannot found 
laws of necessary obligation and catholic extent, but 
is, in fact, subversive of morality. In being inde- 
pendent of the matter of any law (a desired object), 
and being determinable by the legislative form of his 
own maxims, consists the ethical nature of man, and 
that which renders him a subject for morality : that 
independence is freedom negatively, while this self- 
legislation is freedom positively. The moral law ex- 


[presses, therefore, nothing else than just the autono- 
11 my of reason, i. e. of a man's freedom or spontaneity ; 
and this autonomy or freedom is a condition which 
must qualify every maxim, if these last are to har- 
monise with the moral law itself. On the contrary, 
when the matter of a volition, which can be nothing 
else than the object of a desire, is made part of the 
practical law, and represented as a condition pre-re- 
quisite to its possibility, then Heteronomy (a false 
principle of morals) results ; and the will ceases to 
prescribe to itself its own law, and is left exposed to 
laws taken from pathological phenomena. In this 
case, however, the maxim adopted by the will is for- 
mally unfit for law universal, and not only founds no 
obligation, but goes to subvert the principles of prac- 
tical reason itself, and so militates against genuine 
moral sentiments, even while the actions emanating 
from such heteronomy, are not wanting in conformity 
to the law. 


I. Practical rules, based on accidental and contingent 
circumstances, can never be regarded as laws for conduct. 
The will's proper law wafts it from this visible system, 
into another order of things; and that necessity it ex- 
presses, having no common part with the mechanic ne- 
cessity expressed by laws of nature, can consist alone in 
the formal conditions requisite to the possibility of law in 
general. The matter of every practical rule depends on 


subjective facts not extending to all agents whatsoever, and 
hinges on the principle of one's own happiness. And al- 
though it cannot be questioned that every volition has an 
end aimed at {i. e. a matter), yet that by no means war- 
rants the conclusion that such matter is the condition 
and determinator of the maxim ; for if so, then maxims 
could not be elevated to the rank of law in a system 
of universal moral legislation, as they would rest on 
accidental, and not on necessary circumstances. Thus 
it is quite possible that the happiness of others may be 
the object of the will of an Intelligent ; but if regarded 
as the determinator of the maxim, then it must be suppos- 
ed that we not merely feel a secret gratification on per- 
ceiving the happiness of others, but that we are stimulated 
by a physical want or appetite to act towards it, as in the 
case of compassion ; and so there would be no law of be- 
nevolence, that physical feeling not reaching all persons 
whatever (e. ff. God). However, there may be a law en- 
joining universal love, and the matter of benevolent maxims 
may remain, provided it is not figured as their pre-requi- 
site condition ; and it is the form of law which, by mould- 
ing the matter chosen, is the ground of adding such mat- 
ter to the will. To make this as clear as may be, let the 
object-matter of my choice be ;my own happiness, then a 
maxim expressing such volition can only be fit for law 
universal {i. e. be moral), when I involve in it the happi- 
ness of every other Intelligent throughout the universe. 
And a law ordaining me to promote universal happiness, 
is therefore quite independent of the supposition that hap- 
piness is the choice of all wills, and rests singly on its 
own formal universality. This satisfies the demands of 
reason, and gives to what would else be a mere selfish 


maxim, a qualification fitting it for law. In this way it 
is observable, that a pure will is not determined by a de- 
sire of happiness, but is so singly by the form of legality ; 
this form again — adapting the maxim founded on the ap- 
petite for happiness for law universal — is that alone which 
allows me to act upon it, for on no other condition can this 
appetite be brought into harmony with the requisitions of 
reason. On this is based the obligation to extend my pri- 
vate selfish choice of happiness, so as to include at the 
same time that of others. 


The antipart of this principle of morality, is that of 
self-love, on which, I have already shown, every system 
must be based, when the determinator regulating the 
choice is sought for elsewhere than in the legislative form 
of the maxim ; and this contrariety is not logical merely, 
but practical, and would infallibly overthrow all morality, 
were not the voice of reason at all times too audible, and 
its native force to determine the will, too strong to be af- 
fected by dark and deceitful subtleties of the schools, as 
may be made palpable by the following examples : — 

If a person were to attempt to justify his having borne 
false witness, by alleging to his friend the sacred obliga- 
tion he lay under of consulting his own happiness, by 
enumerating the profits and advantages accruing from 
this falsehood ; and if he were, in conclusion, to point out 
the extreme cunning he had employed in the whole mat- 
ter, to fortify himself against detection, and to add, that 
although he now intrusted to his friend this secret, yet he 
was ready to deny it stoutly at any future occasion, and! 
that in all this he was discharging a humane and reason- 


able duty, certainly his friend must either laugh him to 
scorn, or turn from him with disgust ; although, if maxims 
are to be constructed singly with respect to one's own ad- 
vantage, nothing of moment can be urged against such 
a line of conduct. Or, however, to take a second case, 
if somebody were to recommend an overseer or factor 
to you, and were to say that he was an exceedingly 
clever man, — most restlessly active in securing his own 
interest, quite unembarrassed by any scruples as to any 
mode conducive to this end, and perfectly indifferent 
whether the money he had occasion to disburse was his 
own or another's ; — you would either conclude that there 
was an attempt to make a fool of you, or that the per- 
son who could give such a recommendation had lost 
his understanding. Thus widely separated are the con- 
fines of self-love from those of morality. A gulf impas- 
sable lies betwixt their maxims. Self-love (prudence) 
advises by its maxims, but the moral law commands ; and 
the difference is unspeakably great, betwixt what is expe- 
dient and what is imperative to be done. 

The action called for by autonomy is always known 
and undoubted, but that demanded by a heteronomous 
principle is uncertain, and requires extended experience 
and acquaintance with the world ; in other words, every 
man knows within himself what is " duty ;" but what 
is to found one's prosperity and happiness is matter of 
inextricable doubt, and it demands extreme dexterity, 
even to apply suoh selfish rules to the conduct of life, for 
the exceptions they make upon one another are endless. 
The moral law has no exceptions, but demands from every 
one punctual observance, and must therefore be so plain 
and obvious in its requirements, that the most common 


understanding can advance along it, without any study of 
the intricate ways of the world. 

To obey the categorical law of morals, is at all times in 
every one's power ; but it is not practicable for all to act 
upon dictates of expediency : the reason is, that the first 
demands singly a pure and unadulterated will (maxim), 
but the latter calls further for ability and physical power to 
gain the end aimed at. A law to pursue one's own happi- 
ness were absurd, for it is superfluous to ordain any one 
to choose, what the constitution of his nature inevitably 
forces him to will, and it were more fit to instruct him as 
to those measures calculated to carry his choice into ef- 
fect. But to command morality under the name of duty, 
is quite rational, for we do not willingly yield obedience 
to its law; and as to the steps requisite to be taken in or- 
der to adhere to it, that is explained in the methodology of 
ethics ; what is here wanted, is alone the original bent or 
cast of the volition to do so ; for whenever any one wills, 
that also gives him the power to carry the law into effect, 
i. e. to act upon it. 

To carry as far as may be this difference between 
principles of utilitarianism and morality, I observe far- 
ther, — 

He who has lost at play may be vexed at his imprudence 
and want of skill; but he who is conscious within himself 
of having cheated, must despise himself as soon as he com- 
pares his conduct with the moral law, and that too al- 
though he have won treasures. The moral law must there- 
fore be somewhat widely distinct from principles of self- 
aggrandisement. And for any one to be obliged to say to 
himself, I am worthless and a villain, though wealthy, and 
to say, I am clever and cunning, for I have amassed riches, 


live judgments founded on standards of conduct totally 


Again, the idea of blame-worthiness and punishment, 
which reason invariably attaches to that of guilt, makes a 
singular contrast with the Eudaimonistic system ; for al- 
though he who appoints a punishment, may do so with a 
view to the ulterior happiness of the delinquent, yet 
punishment, as actual pain or evil added to the offender, 
must be justified as such, so as to constrain even the guilty 
to acknowledge that the severity is just, and that his evil 
lot answers to his ill desert. Every punishment must 
be rigidly just, for justice is of the very essence of this 
idea. Benignity is not contrary to justice, and may in 
union with justice deal out punishment : but for kindness 
or mercy, the blame-worthy has no claim ; and so it is 
clear that punishment is a physical evil, which it behoved 
should be annexed to moral evil (according to the ethical 
legislation of reason) even if it were not already so. If, 
then, every crime is a fit object of punishment, and infers 
to some extent a forfeiture of happiness, it is a contra- 
diction and absurdity to say that a crime requires punish- 
ment because the transgressor has injured his own happi- 
ness ; for this is the whole conception of crime accord- 
ing to the Utilitarian System ; for then physical evil, i. e. 
punishment, would be the ground and reason of consider- 
ing any action as a transgression, and justice would come 
to consist in avoiding all pains and penalties (threatened 
by law), and in preventing those which come of themselves, 
which, when fully done, there would cease to be any evil 
in an action ; those evils consequent on a bad action, and 
which alone make it so, being henceforward removed. It 
were idle to examine the statement that rewards and pu- 


nishraents are stimulant forces applied by a supreme 
power to man, in order to lead him towards true felicity ; 
the fancy of such mechanism of will being quite destruc- 
tory of all freedom. 

The intervention of a moral sense, as a foundation for 
ethic science, is a somewhat more refined theory, but as 
untrue as the former ; for it alleges that this feeling, not 
reason, promulgates the moral law ; and further, since the 
consciousness of virtue is immediately connected, owing 
to this feeling, with enjoyment and pleasure, and that of 
vice with uneasiness and pain, it virtually runs up into 
a sui-felicity or greatest-happiness system. Not to insist 
again in those objections which are amply set forth in 
former paragraphs, I merely stop to point out a mistake 
which pervades the whole theory. Before we can figure 
to ourselves the vicious as haunted with an uneasy recol- 
lection of his misdeeds, he must be cogitated as already in 
some degree morally good ; as must likewise he who is to 
be gratified from reflecting on the integrity of his conduct. 
So that the ideas of morality and duty are pre-supposed 
to explain the existence of such a feeling, and cannot be 
derived from it. It is absolutely necessary that a person 
have estimated the high importance of duty, the authori- 
ty of the moral law, and the immediate unconditioned 
worth which the observance of it imparts to man in his 
own eyes, antecedently to his being able to feel that con- 
tentment springing from the consciousness of a moral 
character, or that bitter reproach springing from the 
conviction of the want of it. This moral felicity cannot 
precede the idea obligation, much less found it ; and it is 
requisite that an individual haA'^e some notions of morali- 
ty and honour, before he can ever figure to himself what 


is meant by such emotions. This, however, is so far 
from inclining me to deny that a standing determination 
to act upon the representation of the moral law, and un- 
swerving constancy in doing so, will eventually establish 
this feeling of self-contentment, that I rather deem it a 
duty to cultivate such a state of mind, which state alone 
ought rigidly to be termed " a moral sense" However, 
to deduce thence the idea duty is impossible, for we would 
require a feeling of the law as such, so as to make that an 
object of sensation which can be represented to the mind 
by reason singly ; a statement which, if not a downright 
contradiction, goes to substitute in the room of duty a 
mechanic play of refined and more subtilized emotions, 
sometimes thwarting, sometimes harmonizing with the 
coarser feelings of our system. 

We are now in a condition to exhibit and contrast our 


every other material principle of morals hitherto advan- 
ced, and so to make it evident from a glance that these," 
and through them every other conceivable foundation, are 
exhausted, and that henceforth the attempt must be fruit- 
less to base morality on any other ground than the one 
on which it has been now rested. Every possible deter- 
minator of the will is either subjective, and borrowed from 
observation and experience, or else objective, and based on 
reason ; and these again, whether rational or inductive, 
are either external or internal. 

Material Determinators in Ethical Systems are^ 




External. Internal. 


Wolf and 
the Stoics: 


Education as Civil Polity. Physical Moral 
founding Morality. Mandeville. feeling. feeling. 
Montaigne. Epicuruti Hutcheion. 


Will of God. 
Crusius and Theo- 
logical Moralist*. 


Those on the left are all inductive, and plainly unfit for 
founding laws of catholic extent. Those on the right 
hand, however, have their origin and seat in reason (for 
perfection as a quality, and supreme perfection cogitated in 
substance, i. e. God, can only be figured to the mind by rea- 
son). But the first notion can mean only either perfection 
in a theoretic or in a practical sense : in the first it signi- 
fies completeness [i. e. quantitative perfectness), which can 
have no reference to what we are here talking of; or else 
it signifies (qualitative perfection), the practical fitness 
of man for accomplishing all possible variety of ends. 
Such an inward perfection is talent; and whatever adds 
to or serves as complement to that, is called skill. 

Supreme perfection hypostatised, or in substance {i. e. 
God), consequently external perfection considered practi- 
cally, is the all-sufficiency of the Supreme Being for every 
end whatsoever. 

Now, if ends must be given in order to fix the notion 
of perfection, so that the representation of a perfection in 
ourselves, or an external perfection in God, may deter- 
mine a volition towards them ; then, since such matter of 
choice precedes the volition, and is the condition of its prac- 
tical rule, it follows that the will is determined as on the 
Epicurean System. For the notion perfection determines 
the will by the gratification expected from our own ac- 
complishments ; and the will of God, when harmony with 
it is chosen, apart from any prior investigation of what is 
a perfect and absolutely good will, can only move the 
will by an expectation of happiness awaited from him. 

Therefore, 1*^, All principles in this schedule are ma- 
terial ; 2dlyi they represent all such conceivable principles 
whatsoever; and, 3c?/y, because material principles are quite 


unfit for law universal, it results that the formal practi- 
cal principle of reason (according to which the bare form 
of a potential legislation served for the supreme and im- 
mediate determinator of choice) is the alone possible 
which can found categorical imperatives, i. e. practical 
laws, and is thus at once the sole standard for estimating 
deportment, and the sole ethical determinator of the will. 




The essence of all moral worth in acting consists in 
this, that the moral law he the immediate determinator 
of the will ; if the will be determined so as to he in har- 
mony with the law, hut only mediately, and by the inter- 
vention of an emotion or feeling, no matter of what kind 
soever this last may be, which emotion must be pre-sup- 
posed before the law becomes the sufficient determinator ; 
i. e. when the determination is not out of single reverence 
for the law, then the action is possessed of legality, but it 
contains no morality. Further, if by a spring is meant 
the subjective determinator of the will of an intelligent, 
who is not of necessity conformed to the objective law, 
then, from such explanation we conclude, first, that to a 
divine will no springs can be figured as attached ; and, 
SECOND, that in the case of the human, or of any other 
being, these can be none other than the moral law itself, 
i. e. that the objective determinator must be also at thok 
same time the always and single subjectively-sufficient 
determinator of an act, — if the act is to fulfil, not the 
bare letter, but likewise the spirit of the law.* 

* It may be said of every act outwardly in harmony with the law, but 
which has not been performed out of naked regard had to it, that it is 
morally good after the letter, but not so according to the spirit, of 
the LAW. 


- Since, then, no farther spring is to be sought for as a, 
medium to the moral law, in procuring it control and pur- 
chase on the will, which would be a dispensing with and 
supplanting of the moral law, and could produce nothing 
but an unstable hypocrisy, — nay, since it were even ha- 
zardous to call on any other spring for aid (e. g. utilita-, 
rian incitements), to work alongside of, and co-operate 
with, the law, — we can have no farther task than care- 
fully to inquire, how the ethical law acts as spring? and. 
what changes of state happen in the mind and man's powers 
of desire, as effects of its determining causality ? For how 
a law should be itself the alone and immediate deter-, 
minator of the will (wherein the essence of all morality 
consists), is a problem not solvable by human reason, and; 
quite identic with the question, how a free will is pos- 
sible ? What we therefore have to show a priori, is not 
the ground, by force of which, the moral law is a spring, 
but merely what, when it is so, it eflFects, and indeed 
MUST eflfect, upon the mind. 

The essence of all determination of will by the mo- 
ral law lies in this, that it, as free will, be determined, 
not only without any co-operations from sensitive excite- 
ments, but that it even cast all such behind-back, and 
discard them, in so far as they may infringe upon the law, 
and be determined by it singly. Thus far the action of 
the moral law, as a spring, is no more than negative, and 
is known as such a priori. For every appetite and every 
sensitive excitement is based on feeling, and the negative 
action of the law on the sensory (when casting out all 
appetitive stimuli) is again itself a feeling. Consequently 
we understand a priori., that the moral law, the ground 
determining the will, must produce a feeling, when it 

118 ON THE A PRlOllI 

circumscribes and discards the solicitations of the sen- 
sory. This feeling may be called pain, and is the first, pro- 
bably the only case, where we have been able to assign, 
upon grounds a priori, the relation obtaining betwixt 
knowledge (here of pure practical reason), and a feeling 
of pleasure or pain. The aggregate of the appetites 
(which easily admit of being brought into a very tolerable 
system, and whereof the gratification is then one's own 
happiness) make up and compose what is called selfish- 
ness or SOLIPSISM ; and this selfishness is either that 
of SELF-LOVE or that of SELF-CONCEIT : the solipsism of 
the first resides in overstrained fondness and good will to 
a man's own self, and is sometimes called vanity ; the 
SOLIPSISM of the other is an extravagant self-complacency, 
and is particularized by the name of arrogance or vain- 
glory.* Practical reason circumscribes the claims of 
self-love, but allows them to be plausible, as they are 
astir in the mind even before the law itself; and limits 
them to the condition of being in harmony with the 
law, after which self-love is equitable; but the high 
thoughts of self-conceit it overthrows entirely, and de- 
clares all pretensions to self-esteem, prior to conformity 
with the law, void and empty ; because the certain con- 
sciousness of being so conformed is the supreme condition 
fixing all moral worth of the person, and all assumption 
of any — where there is not yet such conformity — is false 
and illegal. Now, the propensity to esteem one's self is 
one of those appetitive instincts infringed upon by reason 
to this extent, that it makes self-esteem depend upon mo- 

• Pride (siiperJna) diflFers from all these. It is treated of as a vice, 
Met. Eth. 


rality. Thus the moral law casts down all self-conceit ; 
but since the law is in fact somewhat positive, namely, 
the form of an intellectual causality, i. e. of freedom, it 
becomes, by the contrast it makes with the appetites it 
weakens and invades,— au object of reverence ; and in so 
far as it altogether prostrates self-conceit, i. e, humbles — 
an object of the most awful reverence, that is, it is the 
ground of a positive feeling, not begotten by anywhat 
sensitive, and which can be recognised a priori. Reve- 
rence for the MOEAL law is therefore a feeling or emo- 
tion caused by an intellectual ground, and is the only 
feeling capable of being recognised a priori, and the ne- 
cessity of which we are able to comprehend. 

In the former chapter,* it was shown that every thing 
which could be presented as an object to the will before 
the moral law, was excluded by that law from the grounds 
determining a will which is to be unconditionally good ; 
and that nothing but the naked practical form, which 
consists in the fitness of maxims for law universal, esta- 
blishes what is in itself absolutely good, and founds 
maxims of a will good at all points. But we now 
find that our system is so constituted, that the matter of 
desire first obtrudes itself on the sensory; and our patho- 
logical A posteriori self, although its maxims are quite 
unfit for law universal, immediately endeavours, as if it 
were our whole and proper self, to make its claims 
valid, as the originary and prior. This deflective ten- 
DENcyf to make a man's subjective self the objective de- 

• Not translated. 

■j- Although the will deflect originally from the law, it is not necessary 
to say any thing of such casualty here ; for the duties imposed by the 
law remain the sanje, whatever bias a will may labour under. 

120 ON THK A PlllORF 

terminator of his will, may be called self-love, and 
when dominant and elevated to the rank of an uncondi- 
tional practical law, may be styled self-coi4ceit. The 
moral law excludes, as the alone true objective law, the 
influence of self-love from any share in the legislation, 
and derogates infinitely from self-conceit, when it an- 
nounces the subjective conditions of the other as laws ; 
but whatsoever does diminution in man's own eyes to his 
self-conceit, humbles. The moral law, therefore, inevita- 
bly humbles every man, when he compares with it the 
deflective tendency of his sensitive system ; again, that 
which, when represented as the determinator of the will, 
humbles man in his own consciousness, does, in so far as 
it is positive, and a determinator, beget for itself reve- 
rence. The MORAL LAW is therefore subjectively the 
GROUND of REVERENCE ; and since all the parts of self- 
love belong and refer to appetite and inclination, and 
these latter rest on feeling, and any thing which curbs 
and reins up the impetuosity of self-love, must, by doing 
so, of necessity take eff'ect upon the feelings, we tho- 
roughly comprehend how it is that we know a priori that 
the moral law exercises an effect on the sensory, by ex- 
cluding appetite, and the bias to elevate it to the rank of 
a supreme practical condition ; which effect, in one 
point of view, is negative only (humility) ; but in ano- 
ther, and when regard is had to the limitary ground — pure 
spontaneity of reason — is positive (reverence) ; and 
this effect does not admit or require us to assume any 
particular kind of feeling under the name of a practical, or 
moral, or internal sense, as if it were antecedent to the 
moral law, and the groundwork of it. 

The negative effect wrought upon the sensory (dis- 


placency) is, like every other action on the feelings, and 
indeed, as is also every feeling, pathological. Considered, 
liowever, as the effect springing from the consciousness of 
the moral law, i. e. considered in reference to its intellec- 
tual cause — a personality of pure practical reason as su- 
preme legislatrix — this feeling of a reasonable subject, 
perturbed by appetite and inclination, is called no doubt 
humility ; but again, when referred to its positive ground 
-—THE LAW — ^it is called reverence felt toward it; which 
law itself cannot be felt indeed, but when impediments in 
the sensory are cleared out of the way, which hindered 
the law from being carried into effect, reason deems the 
removal of such obstacle tantamount to a positive ad- 
vancement of her causality; and hence this feeling 
may be further called a feeling or emotion of reverence 
toward the law, and, upon both these grounds together, 
may be called the moral sense. 

Hence, as the moral law is at once the formal determina- 
tor of an act by pure practical reason, and is likewise the 
material and yet objective determinator of the object-matter 
of an act as good or evil, so it becomes at the same time the 
subjective determinator to such an act, by operating upon 
the morality of the subject, and effectuating an emotion 
which advances the force of the law upon the will. But in 
all this there is no antecedent feeling given in the subject 
himself, pointing to morality ; which last hypothesis is a 
downright impossibility, every feeling being of the sen- 
sory ; whereas the spring of ethical volitions must be quite 
defecated from every sensitive condition. Nay, that sen- 
sitive state — feeling — which lies at the bottom of all ap- 
petite and emotion, is the condition of that specific state 
of mind we have called reverence ; but the cause of such 


state lies in pure practical reason ; and the emotion in 
this respect, and on account of whence it has its origin, 
cannot be regarded as a pathognomic, but ought to be re- 
garded as a practical or active emotion ; an emotion prac- 
tically effectuated, when the representation of the law, 
having curbed the licentiousness of self-love, and beaten 
down the overweenings of self-conceit, takes away the 
hindrance obstructing the action of pure practical reason, 
and exhibits the superiority of her objective law to the 
solicitations of the sensory, and so gives, in the scales 
of reason, weight to the former, by removing the coun- 
terpoise pressing upon the will from the latter. Reve- 
rence TOWARD THE LAW is therefore not a spring ad- 
vancing morality, but is morality itself considered 
subjectively as a spring ; i. e. in so far as in this state of 
mind the appetencies of the sensory are silenced, and an 
inlet is afforded for advancing the authority of the law. 
To all which is to be added, that since such reverence is 
an effect wrought upon the sensory, it involves the sup- 
position of the sensitive, and so of the finite nature of 
those Intelligents, whom the moral law thus inspires with 
reverence : but in the case of a Supreme Intelligent, or 
even of one not percipient by the intervention of a sen- 
soiy— where, therefore, no obstacle is presented to practi- 
cal reason — no reverence can exist. 

This feeling (called the moral sense) is the pure pro- 
duct and effect of reason. It is of no service in judging of 
conduct, nor yet in founding the moral law ; but is a mere 
spring, making the law man's practical maxim in life; nor 
is there any name more appropriate for so strange a feel- 
ing, which has no analogy to any pathological emotion. 


but is entirely of its own kind, and seems to stand at the 
command of pure practical reason only. 

Reverence is bestowed on Persons only, never on 
Things. The latter may be objects of affection ; and, 
when they are animals, may awaken in us even love or 
FEAR. Volcanoes and the ocean may be regarded with 
dread, but cannot with reverence. What approaches 
nearer to this last, is wonder, which, when impassion- 
ed, may rise to admiration, astonishment, or amaze- 
ment; as when we contemplate the summits of lofty 
mountains, storms, the extent of the firmament, the 
strength and velocity of some animals, &c. and so of the 
rest ; but all this is not reverence. A man may be an 
object of my love, my fear, or my admiration, up to the 
higliest grade of wonder, and still he may be no object of 
reverence. His jocose humour, his strength and courage, 
his power and authority, from the rank he has, may give 
me such emotions, but they all fall short of reverence. 
Fontenelle says, " It is my body, not my mind, which hows 
to my superior^ I may add, that to any plain man, in 
whom I discover probity of manners in a grade superior to 
my own, my mind must bow whether I will or not. To 
what is this owing ? His example presents to me a law 
which casts down my self-conceit when it is compared 
with my own deportment ; the execution of which law, 
that is, its practicability, I see proved to me by real 
fact and event. Nay, even if I were conscious of like ho- 
nesty to his, my reverence for him would continue ; the 
reason whereof is, that all good in man being defective, 
the law, made exhibitivc by an example, prostrates my 
conceit, which exemplar is furnished by a person whose 
imperfections, which must still attach to him, I do not 


know, as I do my own, and who therefore appears to me 
in a better light. Reverence is a tribute which can- 
not be refused to merit, whether we choose or not. We 
may decline outwardly to express it, but we cannot avoid 
inwardly to feel it. 

So far is reverence from being a pleasurable feeling, that 
we entertain it unwillingly toward any man, and begin in- 
stantly to cast about for some fault which may lighten us 
from its burden, and give indemnity against the humilia- 
tion otherwise put upon us by his example. Even the 
dead, especially when their example seems to surpass all 
power of imitation, are not exempt from this sifting scru- 
tiny. Nay, the moral law itself, in its solemn majesty, 
is open to this endeavour to screen one's self from the re- 
verence owed it ; or do we think that it is upon some other 
account that mankind would fain have the law frittered 
down to an object of his love, and that it is upon quite 
different and contrary grounds that he exerts himself to 
find in it, nothing more than the amiable precepts of his 
own well-understood advantage ; and not upon this single 
and only one, that he would willingly be rid of that de- 
terring reverence which unremittingly shows him his own 
unworthiness ; and yet there is in reverence so little 
of dislike or disinclination, that when once mankind 
has laid aside his self-conceit, and allowed that reverence 
to take its practical effect, he cannot become sated with 
contemplating the glory of the law, and his soul believes 
itself exalted in proportion as he sees the holy law advan- 
ced above him and the frailty of his system. Unquestion- 
ably great talents, when accompanied by commensurate 
and suitable activity, beget reverence, or a feeling bearing 
a strong likeness to it \ and it is in truth quite becoming 


and decorous to show them such ; and here it would seem 
that wonder and reverence were the same. But, on stricter 
analysis, it is observed, that since we do not know how 
much innate force of talent, and how much study and in- 
dustrious self-culture, conduce to the effect wondered at 
and admired, reason represents this last as probably the 
fruit of study, i. e. as a kind of merit which strikes direct- 
ly at one's own self-conceit, — hands the bystander over to 
his own reproach, — or imposes on him an obligation to fol- 
low such example. This reverence or admiration is then not 
mere wonder, but is reverence toward the person (or, pro- 
perly speaking, toward the law exhibited in his example). 
A matter confirmed by this, that when the general mass 
of admirers discover, from some quarter or another, the de- 
pravity of their admired's morals {e.g. Voltaire), all^reve- 
rence for him is immediately abandoned. But one who is 
a member of the literary republic continues to feel some 
regard still when weighing his talents, because he finds 
himself engaged in a profession and calling which makes 
it imperative upon him to imitate in some respect his ex- 

Reverence toward the moral law is, then, the only and 
undoubted ethic spring, and is an emotion directed to no 
object except upon grounds of the law. First, the moral 
law determines objectively and immediately the will. Free- 
dom, whose causality is alone determinable by the law, 
consists in this very matter, that all appetite and emotion, 
and so also the affection of self-esteem, is restrained by it 
to the prior condition of having executed its pure law. 
This control takes effect upon the sensory, and produces 
there a feeling of pain or displacency, which can be re- 
cognised a priori, when eyed from the vantage-ground of 


the moral law. But since this is a negative effect only, 
resulting from the agency of reason (i. e. the spontaneity 
of the person when he withstands the solicitations of his 
sensory, and strips off the overweening fancy of his per- 
sonal worth, which, where there is no harmony with the 
law, shrinks at once to zero), such action of the law he- 
gets no more than a feeling of humility, which we com- 
prehend a priori ; hut this we do not see, Avherein con- 
sists the force of the pure practical law as spring, but only 
its withstanding the springs of the sensory. But, second, 
since this same law is farther objectively {i. e. according 
to the representation of pure reason) an immediate deter- 
minator of will, and this humiliation is effected only re- 
latively to the purity of the law, it follows that this de- 
pression of man's claim to his own ethical reverence {i. e. 
his humiliation from the part of his sentient economy) 
is an exaltation (from his intelligent part) of the ethical, 
i. e. practical reverence for the law itself — in other words, 
is just that reverence itself, consequently a positive feel- 
ing considered with respect to its intellectual ground, 
which feeling also is cognisable a priori. For every di- 
minution of the obstacles opposed to an activity, is in 
plain fact an advancement of that activity itself. The ac- 
knowledgment of the moral law, however, is the consci- 
ousnessof an activity of pure reason from objectivegrounds, 
which activity does not always pass into action, merely 
because subjective causes stop and hinder it. Reverence 
for the moral law must therefore be regarded as the law's 
positive though indirect effect upon the sensory, when it 
weakens the impeding forces of appetite and inclination, 
by casting down all self-conceit ; that is, reverence is the 
subjective ground of such activity, or, in other words, is the 


SPRING towards the executing of the law, and the ground 
of adopting maxims of conduct which harmonize with its 
requirements. Upon this notion ofa springrests thisfarther 
one of an interest, which cannot be attributed to any 
being not endowed with reason ; and it denotes a spring 
towards volition, in so far as that spring is begotten by 
REASON ONLY. Again, because the law must be the spring 
where the will is morally good, the ethical interest 
is a PURE INSENSITIVE INTEREST of naked practical rea- 
son. Upon this notion of an interest rests again that of 
a MAXIM ; and this is only truly genuine when it is based 
on the naked interest taken by man in the execution of 
the law. These three notions, however, spring, inte- 
rest, and MAXIM, are applicable only to finite beings, — 
they all presuppose bounds and limits put to the nature 
of the person, and intimate that the subjective structure 
of his choice does not spontaneously and of its own accord 
harmonize with the objective law of practical reason, and 
imply a need to be urged by somewhat to activity, that 
activity being obstructed by an inward hindrance. 

There is somewhat so strange in this unbounded reve- 
rence for the pure moral law, divested of all by-views of 
advantage or expediency, and exhibited as practical rea- 
son holds it up to mankind for his execution, whose voice 
makes the most daring scoffer tremble, and forces him to 
hide himself from his own view, that one ought not to be 
surprised at finding this energy of a naked intellectual 
idea upon the sensory quite uninvestigable by reason, and 
that mankind must content himself with comprehending 
a priori thus much, that such a feeling attaches insepara- 
bly to the representation of the law by every finite Intel- 
ligent. Were this emotion of reverence pathologic, and 


bottomed on the internal sense of pleasure, then were it 
vain to attempt to track out the alliance obtaining betwixt 
it and an idea a priori. But an emotion pointed only to 
a practical end, and attached to the bare, formal represen- 
tation of a law, quite abstractedly from any object, and 
which therefore pertains neither to pleasure nor pain, and 
yet establishes an interest in that law's execution, is what 
we properly call a moral one ; and the susceptibility to take 
such an interest in the law (in other words, to have reve- 
rence for the moral law itself), is what we, properly speak- 
ing, call THE MORAL SENSE. 

The consciousness of man's free submission of his will 
to the law, going, however, hand in hand with a necessary 
control and co-action put by reason on every appetite and 
inclination, is reverence toward the law ; the law, which at 
once calls for and inspires this reverence, is, as we have 
seen, no other than the moral, no other law excluding ap- 
petite and inclination from the immediateness of its own 
action on the will. An act objectively incumbent to be 
done in conformity with this law, and with the postpone- 
ment of every appetitive determinator, is what is called 
DUTY, and involves in the very conception of it, on account 
of this postponement, practical necessitation, i. e. deter- 
mination to an act, how unwillingly soever — the emotion 
arising from the consciousness of this co-action or necessi- 
tation, is not pathological (is unlike those effected by an 
object of sense), but is practical, i. e. is only possible by 
an antecedent causality of reason, and objective determi- 
nation of will. It contains, therefore, as subordination 
to law {i. e. a commandment which announces co-action 
to a person affected by a sensory), no pleasure, but rather 
dislike, to that extent, to the act itself; while yet, on the 


other hand, since this co-action is enforced singly by the 
legislation of man's own reason, it brings with it exalta- 
tion; and the subjective effect upon the sensory, when 
pure practical reason produces it, can be called no more 
than SELF-APPROBATION in respect of such exaltation, 
mankind disinterestedly recognising himself destined by 
the law to such subordination, and becoming then aware 
of a new and another interest purely practical and free; 
to take which disinterested interest in acts of duty, no 
appetite invites, but reason, by its practical law, impera- 
tively ordains, and also produces, upon which accounts the 
interest bears a quite peculiar name, that of reverence. 

Upon these accounts, therefore, the notion duty de- 
mands, in the act, objectively, conformity to the law, and 
SUBJECTIVELY, in the maxim from which it flows, reve- 
rence for the law, such being the only method of deter- 
mining the will by it; and on this rests the difference be- 
twixt those states of consciousness, that of acting in har- 
mony with what is duty, and doing so from a principle of 
duty, i. e. out of reverence for the law. The first case (le- 
gality) is possible when mere appetites determine to voli- 
tion ; but the second (morality), the moral worth, can be 
placed in this only, that the act has been performed out of 
duty, L e. out of naked regard had to the law. 

It is of the greatest consequence, in all ethical judg- 
ments, to attend with most scrupulous exactness to the sub- 
jective principle of the maxims, in order that the whole 
morality of an act be put in the necessity of it, out of duty 
and out of reverence for the law, not in love and inclina- 
tion towards what may be consequent upon the act ; for 
man and every created Intelligent, the ethical necessity is 
necessitation, i.e. obligation, and every act proceeding there- 


Upon is duty, and cannot be represented as a way of conduct 
already dear to us ; or which may in time become en- 
deared to us, as if man could at any time ever get the 
length of dispensing with reverence towards the law 
(which emotion is attended always with dread, or at least 
with active apprehension lest he transgress) ; and so, like 
the independent Godhead, find himself — as it were, by force 
of an unchanging harmony of will with the law, now at 
length grown into a second nature — in possession of a holy 
will ; which would be the case, the law having ceased to 
be a commandment, when man could be no longer tempted 
to prove untrue to it. 

The moral law is, for the will of the Supreme Being, a 
LAW or HOLINESS ; but for the will of every finite Intelli- 
gent, a LA^ OF DUTY, a law of ethical co-action and deter- 
mination of his actions by reverence toward the law, and 
out of awe for what is duty. No other subjective princi- 
ple can be assumed as a spring; for while the act then 
falls out as the law requires, and is outwardly in confor- 
mity with the law, yet it is not done out of duty ; the bent 
and ply of the mind is not moral, which, however, is of 
the essence of this legislation. 

It is very well to show kindness to mankind from love 
and compassionate benevolence, as it is likewise to act 
justly from a love of order and method; but such cannot 
be the genuine ethic principles regulating man's deport- 
ment : nor is it quite congruous and suited to our station 
jtihong the ranks of Intelligents as men, when we presume 
to propose ourselves as volunteers, and set ourselves 
loftily above the idea duty; and when, as if mankind 
were independent on the law, he proposes to do out 
of his own good pleasure what he needs no command- 


ment to enjoin. Man stands, however, under a ^scipline 
and probation of reason, and ought never to forget his 
subjection to its authority, — never to withdraw anywhat 
from it, or impair the supremacy of the law (although 
announced by his own reason), by the fond and vain ima-^ 
gination that he can put the ground determining his will 
elsewhere than in the law and reverence to\tard it. Duty^ 
and what we owe, are the alone denominations Under 
which to state our relation to the moral law. Wd are, no 
doubt, legislative members of an ethical kingdom^ realiza- 
ble by freedom of will, and held up by practical reason to 
our reverence; but in it we are subjects, not the sove- 
reign ; and to mistake our lower rank as creatures, and to 
back our self-conceit against the authority of the holy law, 
is already to swerve from its spirit, even while its lettet 
is not unfulfilled. 

With all this the commandment is in perfect unison. 
Love God above all, and thy neighbour as thyself; for, 
being a commandment, it calls for reverence toward a law 
enjoining love, and leaves man no option whether or not 
to make such love a principle of active conduct. Love to 
God, however, as an affection (pathognomic liking), is an 
impossibility, God being no object of sense ; and although, 
in the case of mankind, such pathological excitement is 
possible, yet it cannot be commanded, for it stands in no 
one's power to love upon command. It is, therefore, prac- 
tical benevolence alone which is intended in that sum of 
all commandments. Understood in this signification, to 
love God means cheerfully to obey his law ; to love our 
neighbour, to perform willingly all duties towards him. 
The commandment, however, establishing such a rule 
cannot enjoin us to have this sentiment in discharging 


our incumbent duties, but can enjoin only to endeavour 
after it; for a commandment to do any what willingly is 
self- contradictory; for if we are once let know what is 
suitable for us to do, and are conscious we should like to 
do so, a commandment to such effect would be super- 
fluous ; and do we the act notwithstanding, but only un- 
willingly, and out of reverence toward the law, a com- 
mandment making such reverence the spring of the will, 
would thereby subvert and overturn the desiderated sen- 
timent love. That summary of the moral law does, there- 
fore, like every other precept in the Gospel, represent 
the perfection of the moral sentiment in an ideal of ho- 
liness not attainable by any creature, but which is the 
archetype toward which it behoves us to approximate, and 
to exert ourselves onwards thitherward in an unbroken 
and perpetual progression. Could at any time any intel- 
ligent creature ever attain this point of discharging wil- 
lingly all moral laws, then that would imply that he felt 
no longer within himself the possibility of a desire se- 
ducing him to swerve from them (for the overcoming 
any such incentive always costs the subject some sacrifice, 
and stands in need of self-co-action, i. e. inward necessi- 
tation toward somewhat done not altogether willingly). 
But this grade of ethic sentiment no creature can at any 
time attain ; for, being a creature, and so dependent in re- 
gard of what he wants to make him thoroughly contented 
with his situation, he can never be fully disenthralled from 
appetite and want, which rest on physic causes not al- 
ways harmonizing with the moral law ; the physical and 
moral systems proceeding on causalities of different 
kinds, — a circumstance making it always necessary to 
establish the posture of a man's maxims with regard to 


the former, upon ethical co-action, not upon free-willed- 
devotedness, — upon reverence calling for the execution of 
the law, how unwillingly soever, not upon love, which ap- 
prehends no inward demurring of the will against the 
law, although this last, the mere love of the law (which 
would then cease to he a commandment, and morality, 
now subjectively transformed into holiness, would cease 
to be virtue), is to be the unremitting although unat- 
tainable aim of exertion ; for toward that which we ethi- 
cally admire, and yet (upon account of the consciousness 
of our defects) partly dread, such reverential dread passes 
with the increasing ease whereby we become conformed 
to the standard dreaded, into affection, and the reverence 
into love, at least this would be the completent of a senti- 
ment fully devoted to the law, — if to attain it were at any 
time possible for any creature. ; , 

These remarks are not intended so much to explain the 
above precept of the Gospel, with a view to guard against 
RELIGIOUS FANATICISM upou the question of the love of 
God, but rather to fix exactly the moral sentiments with 
which we ought to discharge our duties toward our fellow 
men, and to guard against, and if possible cut up by the 
roots, a kind of ethical fanaticism, wherewith the heads 
of many are besotted. The grade on the ethic scale where 
mankind finds himself (as is also the case with every 
created Intelligent, so far as we can comprehend) is that 
of reverence toward the law. The sentiment incumbent 
upon him to entertain in obeying, is to do so out of regard 
to duty ; not, as a volunteer, from affection, to go through 
uncommanded and spontaneously undertaken tasks ; and 
his moral state, wherein he always must be found, is vir- 
tue, i. e. the moral sentiment militant, not holiness. 


where he would be in possession of full purity in the 
sentiment of his will. It is nothing but downright ethi- 
cal fanaticism, and an advancement of self-conceit, when 
the mind is spirited on to actions as were they noble, 
sublime, or magnanimous, whereby men fall into the 
imagination that it is not duty (whose yoke, which, though 
easy, because put upon us by our own reason, must be 
borne, however unwillingly) that claims to be the ground 
determinative of conduct, and which, even while they obey, 
always humbles, but that actions are expected from them, 
not out of duty, but as parts of merit. For, not to in- 
sist on this, that by imitating such deeds, i. e. performing 
them upon such a principle, no satisfaction is given to 
the spirit of the law, which consists in the subordinat- 
ing of the will to the law, and not in the legality of 
the act, when the act proceeds upon other grounds (be 
these what they may), this fanaticism does, by putting 
the spring of action pathologically in sympathy or solip- 
sism, and not ethically in the law, beget in this way a 
windy, overweening, and fantastical cast of thought, which 
flatters itself with having so spontaneously good-natured 
a temperament, as to require neither spur nor rein, and 
to be able to dispense altogether with a commandment ; by 
all which, duty is lost sight of, although it ought to be 
more thought upon than merit should. Other people's 
actions, when performed with great sacrifices, and out of 
naked reverence for duty, may very fitly be praised as 
noble and exalted deeds; which, however, can only be 
done in so far as there is no ground to think that they 
flowed from any fits and starts of sensitive excitement, 
but proceeded singly from reverence for duty; and if 
these deeds are to be held up to any one as exemplars to 


be followed, reverence for duty, as the alone genuine moral 
emotion, must indispensably be employed as the spring. 
The solemn holy precept does not allow our frivolous 
self-love to toy with pathognomic excitement, which may 
bear some likeness to morality, and to plume ourselves 
upon meritorious worth. Very little investigation will suf- 
fice to find for any praise- worthy action a law of duty 
which commands, and takes away all option, whether it 
fall in with our propensities or not ; this is the only me- 
thod of exhibition capable of giving an ethic training to 
the soul, it being alone capable of fixed and rigidly de- 
fined maxims. 

FANATicisiki, in its most extensive sense, may be defined 
an overstepping, upon system, of the limits and barriers of 
human reason ; and if this be so, then ethical fanati- 
cism WILL BE the overstepping of those limits put by pure 
practical reason to humanity, when she forbids man to 
place the subjective determinator of his will, i. e. the ethi- 
cal spring to dutiful actions, anywhere else than in the law, 
or to entertain sentiments in his maxims other than reve- 
rence toward this law : consequently ordaining man not to 
forget to make duty his supreme practical principle of 
conduct, — A CONCEPTION which at once dashes both arro- 
gance and self-love. 

Upon this same account, not only novel writers and sen- 
timental pedagogues (however these last declaim at sen- 
timentalism), but even philosophei-s, nay the most rigid 
of all the Stoic Sages, have helped to introduce ethical fa- 
naticism instead of a sober and wise gymnastic discipline 
of ethics ; nor can we here regard this distinction, that the 
fanaticism of these Sages was heroic, whereas that of the 
others was of a more effeminate and shallow kind j and it 


can be affirmed without the least hypocrisy, that the moral 
precepts of the gospel were what first introduced purity 
of moral principle, and that they did at the same time, by 
their adaptation and fitness to the limits of finite beings, 
in placing all good conduct in man's subordination and 
subjection of his will to the discipline and training of a 
duty laid before his mental vision, first prevent him from 
fanatically disorienting himself among imagined moral 
excellencies : and did, by thus putting a stop to ethical 
fanaticism, first assign limits of humility {i, e. of self- 
knowledge), equally to self-love and to self-conceit, both 
which are apt to overstep their barriers. 

Duty [ Thou great, thou exalted name ! Wondrous 
thought, that workest neither by fond insinuation, flattery, 
nor by any threat, but merely by holding up thy naked 
law in the soul, and so extorting for thyself always reve- 
rence, if not always obedience — before whom all appetites 
are dumb, however secretly they rebel — whence thy ori- 
ginal ? and where find we the root of thy august descent, 
thus loftily disclaiming all kindred with appetite and 
want ? to be in like manner descended from which root, 
is the unchanging condition of that worth which mankind 
can alone impart to themselves ? 

Verily it can be nothing less than what advances man, 
as part of the physical system, above himself, — connecting 
him with an order of things unapproached by sense, into 
which the force of reason can alone pierce ; which su- 
persensible has beneath it the phenomenal system, 
wherewith man has only a fortuitous and contingent con- 
nection, and so along with it the whole of his adventi- 
tiously-determinable existence in space and time. It is in 
fact nothing else than personality, i. e. freedom and in- 


dependency on the mechanism of the whole physical sys- 
tem, — always, however, considered as the property of a 
being subjected to peculiar laws emerging from his own 
reason, where the person, as belonging to the sensitive 
system, has imposed on him his own personality, in so far 
as this last is figured to reside in a cogitable system ; 
upon which account we need not wonder how mankind, 
an inhabitant of both systems,' cannot fail to venerate 
his higher nature, and to regard its laws with the great- 
est reverence. 

On this celestial descent are founded many expressions 
denoting the worth of the objects of ethical ideas. The 
moral law is holy. Man no doubt is unholy enough, but 
the humanity inhabiting his person must be holy. In the 
whole creation every thing may be used as an end, man 
alone excepted. He is alone an end-in-himself. He is 
the subject of the moral law, by torce of the autonomy of 
his freedom, which law is holy. Upon the same account, 
every will, nay, every person's will when referring mere- 
ly to himself, is restrained to the condition of its coinci- 
dence with the autonomy of an Intelligent Being, viz. 
that it be subjected to no end not possible under a law fit 
to emanate from the will of the subject himself, conse- 
quently to the condition of never using himself as a mean, 
but always as an end. Such a condition is ascribed even 
to the divine will in respect of the Intelligents in this 
world, who are his creatures, in so far as that condition 
rests on their personality, by force of which alone they 
are ends-in-themselves. 

This reverence-arousing idea of personality, showing 
us the august and sublime of our natural destiny, but 
showing us also the want of the adaptation of our deport- 


ment to it, and so casting down all self-conceit, is natural, 
and thrusts itself upon the most untutored reason, and is 
easily observable. Every tolerably honest man must at 
some time or another have felt that he emitted an harm- 
less untruth, singly not to despise himself in his own 
eyes, although that lie might have produced signal advan- 
tages to a dear and well-deserving friend ; and in the ex- 
tremest exigencies of life, an upright, straightforward man, 
conscience sustains, by telling him that he declined to 
avoid those miseries by bartering his duty, that he never 
prostituted his humanity, that he honoured the inhabi- 
tancy of reason in his own person, so that he needs not 
to blush before himself, and has no cause to shun his 
pwn inward self-examination. This consolation is not 
happiness, — is nothing like happiness, — and no one would 
wish to be so situated, nor for a life in such conjunctures. 
But so long as man lives, he cannot endure to be in his 
own eyes unworthy of life. This inward peace is there- 
fore merely negative, and contains nowhat positive to 
make life happy ; it is merely a defence, warding off the 
danger man runs of sinking in the worth of his person, 
long after he has been despoiled of all worth in situation. 
This peace is the effect of reverence for somewhat quite 
different from life, in comparison and contrast with which, 
life, with all its amenities, has no value. Man in such 
case continues to live singly out of duty, not because he 
has the least taste for life. 

Thus does the genuine spring of pure practical reason 
act. The spring is no other than the law itself letting us 
have a vista of the loftiness of our own supersensible ex- 
istence, and so subjectively effecting in man, who is con- 
scious of his sensitively-affected and dependent nature, 



reverence for his higher destiny. Along with this spring 
may no doubt be combined so many graces and amenities 
of life, that, for the sake of these last alone, the most pru- 
dent choice of a judicious Epicurean might be given in 
favour of ethical deportment. And it may be advisable 
to combine the prospect of enjoying life with that other 
and prior and singly-sufficient determinator of the will : 
and yet, merely in order to counterbalance the incentives 
which ^dce ceases not to offer, not to use it as a spring, 
no, not in any wise, when question is made as to duty ; for 
if otherwise, then is the moral sentiment polluted in its 
source. The awe of duty has nowhat in common with the 
enjoyment of life ; and although they were to be taken and 
well shaken, and so handed mixed as an opiate for the sick 
soul, yet they would soon separate ; or were this last not to 
happen, the former part would take no effect ; and while 
man's physical existence might gain in force, his ethical 
would without stop fade away. 





By the critical dilucidation of a science, or of a portioi;i 
of it, I understand the inquiring and showing ^^why'^'ii must 
assume precisely this and no other form when contrasted 
with some other system based on a like power of know- 
ledge. Now the practical reason and speculative are at bot- 
tom " identic" in so far as both are pure reason ; whence 
it will result, that the difference obtaining betwixt their 
systematic forms, will be found, as to its last ground, by 
comparing them both together. 

The analytic of pure theoretic reason was conversant 
with the knowledge of objects given to the understand- 
ing, and so began at the intuitions ; and since intuition is 
always sensitive, it started with the sensory, and arrived 
next at the notions (of the objects of intuition), and so, 
after premising both, ended with the principles. But 
since, on the contrary, practical reason is not occupied 
about the knowledge of objects, but about her own power 
to make such objects " real" i. e. with a will, which is a 
cause so far forth as reason contains in itself the ground 
of its determination, and so has consequently to treat of 
no object of intuition, but of a law (because it is of the 
very essence of the notion causality to refer to law, 
fixing and determining the relative existence of the mul- 
tifarious), a Critique of pi-actical reason has, upon these 


grounds (if it is to be a practical reason at all), to set out 
with the possibility of practical principles apriori. Thence 
we descended to notions of the objects of a practical rea- 
son, viz. to the notions of the good and evil,* in order to 
assign them conformably to those principles (for it is im- 
possible, prior to such principles, to fix by any power of 
knowledge what is good or evil) ; and then, only then, 
could the last chapter conclude by investigating the rela- 
tion obtaining betwixt pure practical reason and the sen- 
sory, and the necessary effect, cognizable a priori there- 
on, which effect we called the moral sense. Thus the 
analytic of pure practical reason is divided quite analo- 
gously to the theoretical, throughout the whole extent of 
the conditions of its use, but in a reverse order. The 
analytic of pure theoretic reason was divided into Esthe- 
tics and Logic : that of practical, again, invertedly into 
Logic and ^Esthetics of pure practical reason, if I may be 
allowed to misapply these words, merely for the sake of 
the analogy : there Logic branched out into the analytic 
of notions and then of principles, but here into that of 
principles and then of notions. There Esthetics had two 
parts, owing to the twofold sorts of sensitive intuition ; 
here the sensory is not regarded as the intuitive faculty, 
but as a bare feeling (fit to become the subjective ground 
of desire), which, however, is not susceptible of any fur- 
ther subdivision. 

Fai'ther, that this division into two under-parts (as 
might have been expected, from the instance of the for- 
mer Critique) was not attempted by me in this work, 
arose from this special ground. For, since it is practical 

• In the chapter not translated. 


reason we are talking of, which begins with a principle 
a priori, and not with experimental determinators, it fol- 
lows, that the division of the analytic of pure practical 
reason will be like that of a syllogism, viz. first the uni- 
versal in the major (the moral principle) ; second, a sub- 
sumption in the minot, of possible acts, as good or bad ; 
and then, lastly, the conclusion, when we advance to the 
subjective determinator of the will (an interest in the 
practically-possible good, and the maxim based on such 
interest). Such comparisons will infallibly gratify those 
who are convinced of the truth of the position laid down 
in the analytic ; for they nourish the expectation that we 
mdy one day attain a thorough insight into the tmity of 
the whole rational faculty, and be able to deduce it all 
from one principle, an unavoidable demand made by hu- 
man reason, which finds only in a completely systematic 
unity of its knowledge, rest and satisfaction. 

If, now, we consider farther the content of the know- 
ledge we possess, either concerning, or by means of pure 
practical reason, as just expounded in the analytic, then 
there are observable, notwithstanding the marvellous 
analogy obtaining betwixt them, no less extraordinary and 
signal differences. Theoretic reason was able to exhibit 
the power of pure rational knowledge " a jonm," easily 
and evidently, by examples of the sciences ; but that pure 
reason, without any admixture of experimental grounds, 
could be for itself practical, behoved to be exhibited by 
the common practical use of every man's reason, whereby 
to authenticate the supreme practical principle, as one 
which every common reason, recognised as quite a priori, 
independent on any sensitive data, and the supreme law of 
the will. It was necessary to this end, first to establish 


and evince this principle, qitoad the purity of its origin, by 
the judgment of the most common reason, before science 
could receive it, or make any use of it; just like a fact, 
antecedent to all quibbling about its possibility, or about 
the results possible to be extracted from it. This circum- 
stance, however, could easily be explained from what has 
been just alleged, since practical reason must of necessity 
begin with principles, which, as data, were to lie at the 
bottom of all science, and so could not be derived from it ; 
and the justification of the moral pl-inciples, as positions 
of pure reason, could very well be managed by an appeal 
to the judgment of mankind's common sense : because 
every thing experimental, which could insinuate itself as 
a deter minator into our maxims, becomes forthwith per- 
ceptible by the feeling of pleasure or pain, inevitably at- 
taching to it, so far forth as it excites desire ; whereas that 
pure practical principle directly counterworks all such, 
and refuses to adopt any feeling, as a condition, into its 
principle. The dissimilarity of the determinators (expe- 
rimental or rational) is pointed out so prominently, and in 
such relief — when this antagonism of a practically-legisla- 
tive reason withstands every appetite, — by a peculiar kind 
of sensation, not antecedent to the legislation of practical 
reason, but rather effectuated alone by it, viz. the feeling 
of reverence, the which no man has for any appetite, be 
they of what kind they may, but has invariably for law, 
that no one, of the most common understanding, can fail, 
on the instant, to become aware, in any example, that 
he may indeed be advised to follow an experimental 
stimulant of volition, but that it cannot be expected he 
should be required to obey anywhat except reason's pure 
practical law. 


To distinguish betwixt utilitarianism and morality, 
where experimental principles are the foundation of the 
first, and no part at all of the foundation of the second, is 
the prime and the weighty business of the analytic of 
pure practical reason, and imposes on the author a pro- 
cedure as punctual and painful as is the method in geo- 
metry. And here the philosopher stands in pretty much 
the same situation as the chemist, for he institutes at all 
times an experiment with every man's practical reason, 
in order to separate the pure (moral) determinator from 
the experimental. Suppose that he superadd to the will 
of one sensitively affected (who would like to lie, because 
somewhat may be earned by it), the moral law. Then it 
is as when the experimenter adds an alkali to a solution 
of muriate of lime ; the acid deserts the lime, combines 
with the alkali, and the earth is precipitated. In like 
manner, present to an honest man the moral law, by 
which standard he observes the vileness of a liar, and his 
practical reason deserts straightway the prospect of ad- 
vantage, and combines itself with that which upholds for 
him the reverence for his own person. 

But this DISTINCTION bctwixt utility and morality is 
not in any wise their contrariety, and pure practical 
reason does not by any means demand that the claim to 
happiness be abandoned, but only, whenever question 
is made as to duty, that then no account at all be made 
of it. Nay, it in some cases may be a duty to look sharp 
after one's own happiness, partly because the elements 
of happiness (skill, health, wealth) contain means toward 
the execution of duty, partly because the want of them 
(e. g. poverty) may present temptations to transgress the 
law. However, to study one's own happiness never can 


be dutiful directly, and still less a principle of duty. 
Again, since every determinator of will, except the single 
moral law, is experimental, and as such pertains to the 
utilitarian system, it results that all these must be detach- 
ed from the supreme ethical principle, and never weld- 
ed up with it as a condition ; since this would destroy all 
moral worth, just as any tentative experimenting with 
geometric theorems would annihilate their self-evidencing 
certainty — the chief pre-eminency (according to Plato) 
which the mathematics have ; an excellency to be prized 
higher than any utility to which geometry may acciden- 
tally conduce. 

Out of and beyond a deduction of the supreme princi- 
ple of pure practical reason, i. e. the explanation of the 
possibility of such a priori knowledge, nothing farther 
could be done except to state, that if we could compre- 
hend the possibility of the freedom of an active cause, 
then we should comprehend not only the possibility, but 
likewise the very necessity of the moral law, i. e. of the 
supreme practical law of Intelligents, to whom freedom of 
causality of will is ascribed ; both notions being so inse- 
parably linked together, that freedom might be defined 
by saying that it is independency on every thing, except 
the moral law itself. But the freedom of an active cause, 
especially of a cause acting in upon the world of pheno- 
mena, cannot be comprehended, even as to its possibility ; 
and we must deem ourselves happy that its impossibility 
cannot be evinced, and that we are necessitated, by the 
law which postulates this freedom, and so entitled, to 
assume it. But as there are some who still think they 
can explain this freedom by help of observation and ex- 
perience, like any other physical energy, and regard it as 



a mere psychological quality, whereof the exposition rests 
singly on a more sifting scrutiny into the springs of will, 
not as the unconditioned and supersensible predicate of 
the causality of an agent appertaining at the same time 
to the sensible world (on which last it alone depends) ; 
and since these philosophasters do by such assumption 
cut short the vista gloriously afforded us by pure prac- 
tical reason, through the intervention of the moral law 
(viz. the vista into a cogitable world, — alone realising 
to us the otherwise transcendent notion freedom, and 
by consequence the moral law itself), it will be re- 
quisite to adduce a few remarks, as a guard against this 
quackery, and to show it up in its full nakedness and de- 

The notion causality, considered as involving that of 
necessary mechanism, and contradistinguished from the 
same notion as that of freedom, concerns only the exist- 
ence of things, so far forth as they are determinable in 
time, i. e. as phenomena, and so is different from their 
causation, as things- in-themselves; so that if now we 
mistake (as is most commonly done) the determinations 
of the existence of things in time, for determinations of 
the existence of things-in-themselves, then the necessity 
cogitated in the causal-nexus can never be brought into 
harmony with freedom, but they remain stated the one 
contrary to the other ; for from the first can be inferred, 
that every event, and therefore every action, exhibitive in 
time, is necessary, under the conditions of what happen- 
ed in some prior time : and since time elapsed, and its 
contents, are no longer within my power, it will follow 
that every action which I perform is necessary by force 
of determining grounds no longer within my power, ?". €> 


I am, at any point of time wherein I act, never free. Nay, 
even were I to assume my whole existence, as indepen- 
dent on any foreign grounds (e. g. God), so that the deter- 
minators of my causality, and even of my whole exist- 
ence, did not lie out of and beyond mjself, still all this 
could not transmute the mechanical necessity of the phy^- 
sic system into freedom. For at each point of time I 
should always stand under the necessity of being deter- 
mined to act, by somewhat no longer within my power, 
and the a parte priori infinite series of events would still 
be a standing chain of natural sequents which I could 
only continue, not commence ; and so my causality never 

would be FREE. 

If then we ascribe to an Intelligent, whose existence is 
determined in time, freedom, still we cannot upon that 
account exempt him from the law of physical necessity 
regulating all events in his existence, and so also all his 
actions, for that would be to hand them over to blind 
chance; but since this law infallibly refers to all causality 
of things, so far as their existence is determinable in time, 
it would follow that freedom behoved to be rejected as a 
blank and impossible idea, were this the mode according 
to which we had to cogitate the existence of these things- 
in-themselves. Are we then seriously intent on rescuing 
this freedom, there remains this only mode, to attribute to 
the existence of things-in-time, i. e. to the phenomenon, a 
causality according to the law of the mechanicnexus, and to 
attribute to it freedom as a thing-in-itself ; and this is our 
inevitable ultimatum, if we wish to preserve the two con- 
trary notions ; although even then there present themselves 
very formidable difficulties, when we try to explain how 
they can be combined in one and the same action ; nay, 


difficulties so great as would seem to lead us to infer that 
any such combination must be impracticable. 

If I say of any man who has just perpetrated a theft, 
that the act was a necessary result, from determinators 
contained in the antecedent time, according to the law of 
the causal-nexus, then it was impossible that the act should 
not have happened ; how then can any judgment, accord- 
ing to the moral law, change this opinion, and beget the 
supposition that the act might nevertheless have been left 
undone, simply because the law says it ought so to have been 
avoided ? ^. e. how can any man, at the very same point 
of time, and with regard to the same action, be quite free, 
when he is under an inevitable necessity of nature ? To 
seek an evasion in this, by fitting on a comparative no- 
tion of freedom to the mode in which man's causality is 
determined by the laws of nature, is a wretched subter- 
fuge, by which, however, some still suffer themselves to 
be deluded ; and an intricate problem, at whose solution 
centuries have laboured, is not to be figured as solved by 
a mere jargon of words, since it is not likely, in any 
event, that the solution lies so near the surface. The in- 
quiry after that freedom, which lies at the bottom of the 
-moral law, and of our accountability, does not depend on 
this, — whether the causality governed by a law of nature 
be determined by grounds within or without the per- 
.son ? nor yet on this, whether — on the former supposition 
— the determination be necessary by force of instinct or of 
reason ? so long as agi'eeably to the confession of such 
SUPPOSERS these determining representations have the 
ground of their existence in time, and in its elapsed state, 
and so backwards to prior and antecedent states of time. 
Por, be those determinations ever so inward, and be their 



causality called ever so psychological instead of meclianical, 
i. e. though such causality produce its act by dint of per- 
ceptions, and not by motion or matter, still such are deter- 
minations of the causality of an agent, so far forth as his 
existence is determinable in time ; consequently, determi- 
nations rendered necessary by conditions contained in 
prior times, which are therefore, when the subject comes 
to act, no longer in his power; and such psychological 
freedom is in nowise to be distinguished from physical 
necessity. No room is left for transcendental freedom, 
which must be cogitated as independency on the whole 
physical system, whether as object of the internal sense 
merely in time, or as also object of the external senses 
both in space and time at once ; apart from which free- 
dom, which alone is a priori practical, no moral law 
and no responsibility can be supported. On these ac- 
counts, the necessity of events in time, agreeably to the 
law of the causal-nexus, is part of the mechanism of na- 
ture, although we do not assert that the things affected by 
such necessary nexus are material machines. Regard is 
in such denomination had only to the sequences of events 
in time, whether the subject in which such flux occur be 
automaton materiaky or, as Leibnitz had it, spiritualej 
impelled by perceptions ; for, in truth, were the freedom 
of our will of this comparative and psychological sort only, 
then it were no more than the freedom of a turnspit, 
which, once wound up, continue of itself in motion. 

Now, to clear up this seeming antagonism between the 
mechanism of nature and freedom in one and the same 
given action, we must refer to what was advanced in the 
Critiqm of pure reason, or what at least is a corollary from 
it — viz. that that necessity of nature, which may not con- 


sort with the freedom of the subject, attaches singly to 
the modifications of a thing standing under conditions of 
time, i. e. to the modifications of the acting subject as 
phenomenon ; and that, therefore, so far (i. e. as phenome- 
non) the determinators of each act lie in the foregoing 
elapsed time, and are quite beyond his power (part of which 
are the actions man has already performed, and the phe- 
nomenal character he has given himself in his own eyes), 
yet, e contra, the self-same subject, being self-conscious of 
itself as a thing in itself, considers its existence as some- 
what, detached from conditions of time, and itself, so far 
forth, as only determinable by laws given it by its own rea- 
son ; and in this existence nothing precedes its own volun- 
tary act, but every action, and generally every determina- 
tion of its being changing conform to its internal sense ; 
nay, the entire series of its existence as a sensible being, 
is, in its consciousness of an intelligible, cogitable exist- 
ence, nothing but a mere sequent of its causality, never 
its determinator, as noumenon. Under this aspect, an 
Intelligent may rightly say, of every illegal act he perpe- 
trates, he could very well have omitted it, although such 
act is as phenomenon sufficiently determined by the elapsed 
in time, and so far forth infallibly necessary ; for this act, 
together with all prior ones, belong to one single pheno- 
menon, his character, which character he has begotten 
for himself, and by force of which he, as a cause, indepen- 
dent on all sense, imputes to himself the causality of 
tliese phenomena. 

In accordance with this are the decrees of that marvel- 
lous power within us which we call conscience. A man 
may try never so much to paint some immoral conduct, which 
memory reminds him of, as unpremeditated accident, as a 


mere incaution, never at all times to be avoided, and so as 
somewhat where he was hurried forward by the stream of 
necessity, and wherein by consequence he was guiltless ; 
but still notwithstanding, he finds that the advocate wlio 
pleads in his behalf can by no means bring his inward ac- 
cuser into silence, so long as he is conscious, that at the 
time when he perpetrated the injustice, he was master of 
his senses (i. e. free) : although he even then explains to 
himself his crime from sundry bad habits entailed through 
want of active attention to himself, — habits which he had 
suffered to augment up to that degree that he can regard 
the act as their natural result, without being able thereby 
to escape the self-reproach and blame he is forced to put 
upon himself. On this part of our nature is bottomed the 
contrition felt for a long-committed deed, on every recol- 
lection of it ; which compunction is a painful feeling, be- 
gotten by the moral sentiment, and is so far practically 
void, as it cannot serve to make the done undone, and 
would even be absurd (as Priestley, like a consistent fata- 
list, has asserted), were it not that it, as pain, is quite le- 
gitimate ; — reason knowing no relations of time, when 
question is made as to the law (moral) of our cogitable 
existence, but inquiring singly if the event belongs to me 
as my act, and then connecting with it ethically just the 
same sensation whether it happened now or long ago. For 
a man's sentient existence is, in respect of his intelligible 
consciousness of existence (freedom), the absolute unity 
of one phenomenon, which, so far forth as it contains what 
arc only phenomena of his sentiments, he judges of, not 
according to that necessity he is fettered by, as a part of 
the physical system, but according to the absolute spon^ 
taneity of his freedom. It may, therefore, be very well 


admitted, that could we have so deep an insight into a 
man's cast of thinking, as it exhibits itself in inward and 
outward act, — that could we know every the smallest 
spring, and at the same time every external circumstance 
impinging upon such spring, — that then we could calculate 
a man's future conduct with the same exactness with which 
we now compute eclipses, and still affirm that such man 
was free. 

Were we capable of an intellectual intuition of this 
self-same subject, we should then observe, that this whole 
chain of appearances, so far forth as the moral law is 
concerned, emanate from the spontaneity of the subject, 
as a thing-in-himself, of whose determinations no physical 
explanation is at all possible. In default, however, of 
such intuition, the moral law assures us of the actuality 
of this distinction, when we refer our acts as phenomena 
to the sensitive existence of the subject, and when, on the 
other hand, we refer the sensitive itself to the cogitable 
substratum within us. A reference to this distinction, 
which is natural to reason, although quite inexplicable, 
enables us to justify opinions uttered with the greatest 
conscientiousness, and which yet, at their first appearance, 
seem repugnant to all equity. There are cases where in- 
dividuals from youth up, notwithstanding an education 
whereby others have been benefited, show so early a 
wickedness, and persist in it up to man's estate, that one 
may be led to deem them innate villains, and declare their 
whole cast of thinking for unsusceptible of any ameliora- 
tion ; and yet, at the same time, so condemn them in 
every thing they compass or avoid, as if they continued 
as responsible as any other person, notwithstanding that 
hopeless quality of mind attributed to them. But this 


could not happen, did we not suppose that every thing 
arising from man's choice depended on a free causality at 
bottom, which causality impresses, from youth up, its cha- 
racter upon the phenomena : these phenomena do by their 
uniformity make a sequence in the physical system visi- 
ble, but do not make the wicked quality of will necessary, 
but rather such sequence follows the freely adopted evil 
and unchanging maxims, which do therefore make him 
the more reprobate and the more blameworthy. 

But another difficulty attends freedom, so far as it is to be 
regarded as combined in harmony with the mechanism of 
the physical system, in the person of abeing whois himself a 
part of that system ; a difficulty so great, as even, when all 
the foregoing is admitted, threatens freedom with its entire 
destruction. But notwithstanding this danger, there is 
a circumstance which gives hope of an exit issuing in fa- 
vour of freedom, viz. the circumstance that the same diffi- 
culty presses upon every other, nay, as we shall soon 
see, presses alone upon that theory which takes the en- 
tities in time and space for existencies of things in them- 
selves ; and so we need not depart from our main theory 
regarding the ideality of time as a mere form of sensitive 
intuition, i.e. as a mere mode of perceiving, peculiar to a 
person who is part of a sensible world, but need only to 
unite the idea freedom with this other part of the theory. 

When it is admitted that the intelligible person may, 
in regard of any given act, be free, even while he, as a per- 
son belonging in part to the world of sense, is mechani- 
cally conditioned, it still seems as if we must admit that 
the actions of mankind have their determining gi-ound in 
somewhat entirely beyond their power ; so soon as we 
admit that God, as the author of all things, is the cause of 


the existence of substance (a position which cannot be de- 
serted without abandoning all theology). Here it would 
seem that all man's actions have their last ground in the 
causality of a Supreme Being different from himself, — 
and in truth, if the actions of man, which belong to his 
modifications in time, be not 'mere determinations of him 
as phenomena, but of him as a thing-in-itself, — then free- 
dom would irrecoverably be lost ; man would be an au- 
tomaton, wound up and set agoing by some supreme art- 
ist. His self-consciousness would no doubt make him a 
thinking automaton, where, however, the consciousness 
of his spontaneity, if deemed freedom, were illusory, as it 
could only be called so, comparatively speaking, since the 
next determinators of his movements, and their series up 
to their last cause, would, it is true, be internal, but the 
last and highest would be met with in a different hand. 
In consequence of this, I cannot see hoAv they who insist 
on regarding space and time as modes pertaining to the 
existence of the things in themselves, can escape the fata- 
lity of actions; or if (as Mendelsohn did) they declare them 
requisite only to the existence of finite and derived beings, 
but no conditions of an Infinite and Illimitable Supreme, 
then, first, it is incomprehensible upon what title this 
distinction is asserted ; and second, how they propose to 
escape the contradiction of making existence in time a ne- 
cessary modification of Finites ; God being the cause of 
their existence, while he yet cannot be the cause of the 
existence of time and space, these being, on this assump- 
tion, necessary a priori conditions of the existence of 
things themselves; and so His causality would be condition- 
ed in regard of the existence of things ; after which, all the 
objections to God's Infinitude and Independency must again 


enter ; whereas, on the contrary, the determining the Di- 
vine Existence as independent on any conditions of time, 
as contradistinguished from that of a being of the sensible 
world, is quite easy upon our theory, as it is just the dis- 
criminating betwixt the existence of a being-in-itself, and 
its existence phenomenally ; so that if the Ideality of space 
and time be not admitted, Spinozism is the only alterna- 
tive, where space and time are taken for essential modes 
of the Supreme Being ; and the things which depend on 
him {i. e. we ourselves) are not substances, but accidents 
INHERING in him, because, if these things exist only as his 
effects in time, which time conditions their existence-in- 
itself, then all actions of such a product, would be just ac- 
tions of this Supreme, which he performed somewhere 
and soMEWHEN. Spinozism, therefore, notwithstanding 
the absurdity of its main idea, concludes more logically 
than the creation-theory can, when beings in time are 
stated as substances, and as effects of a Supreme Cause, 
and yet denied to belong to God and his actions. 

The solution of the said difficulty can be effected shortly 
and cleai'ly as follows. If existence-in-time is a mere sen- 
sitive kind of representing, appertaining to the thinking 
subjects in the world, and so quite unrelated to things-in- 
themselves, then the creating of these latter beings is a 
creating of things-in-themselves, because the notion of 
creation has nowhat to do with the sensitive representing 
of an entity, but refers to Noumena. When, then, I say 
of beings in the sensible world, " t?tej/ are created," so far 
I regard them as Noumena. And as it would import 
a contradiction to affirm that God is the originator of the 
phenomena, so it is likewise a contradiction to affirm 
that he is, as Creator, cause of the actions which, as phe- 


nomena, are exhibited in the sensible world, although he 
is cause of the existence of the agent as a Noumenon. 
And if now it is possible to assert freedom without pre- 
judice to the mechanism of the system of actions as phe- 
nomena, then it cannot make the least difference that the 
agent is regarded as created, since creation refers to intel- 
ligible, not to sensible existence, and so cannot be figured 
as a ground of the determination of phenomena; which 
result, however, would fall out the other way if the finite 
beings existed in time as things-in-themselves, since then 
the Creator of the substance would be the Author of all 
the machinery attaching to the substance. 

Of so vast importance is the separation of time from 
the existence of real entities effected in the Critique. 

The solution of this difficulty here advanced is exceed- 
ingly difficult itself, it will be said, and appears hardly 
susceptible of a ucid explanation ; but is there any 
other which has been yet attempted more easy and more 
comprehensible ? It would be better to say, and more 
true, that the dogmatic teachers of metaphysic rather 
showed their cunning than their sincerity, by removing 
this difficulty out of sight, in the hope, that if they said 
nothing of it, it would occur to nobody. But if effective 
aid is to be given to science, every difficulty must be ex- 
posed, and even sought for, if perad venture any lurk in 
secret ; for every difficulty evokes a mean of help, which 
cannot be found without giving science an increase in 
extent or in precision; and so difficulties advance the 
groundworks of science. But when difficulties are dis- 
ingenuously concealed, or obviated by palliatives, they 
burst out by and by into incurable evils, and science is 
lost in absolute scepticism. 


Since it is, properly speaking, the idea freedom which 
alone procures us (of all ideas of pure speculative rea- 
son) so great an extension in the fields of the supersen- 
sible, although only in order to a practical behoof, I ask 
how it has exclusively so great and signal a fertility, 
while the rest denote undoubtedly the vacant spot for 
possible objects of the understanding, but cannot deter- 
naine by anywhat the notion of them. I soon compre- 
hend, that since I can think nothing without a category, 
this category must first of all be sought, even for the 
idea freedom. Here it is the category causality, and I am 
aware that I cannot give to the idea freedom, as a trans- 
cendent one, any corresponding intuition, yet that to the 
representation causality, a sensible intuition must first of 
all be given, in order that objective reality may be secured 
to it. Again, all the categories fall into two classes, the 
matheraatic, which tend only to the unity of the synthesis in 
the representing of objects, and the dynamic, which refer 
to the unity in the representing the existence of objects. 
The first kind, those of quantity and quality, contain al- 
ways a synthesis of the homogeneous, where the uncon- 
ditioned, belonging to the given conditioned in a sensible 
intuition in space and time, could not at all be found, as it 
behoved itself to belong to space and time, and so was always 
still conditioned. Hence, too, it came, that in this part of 
the dialectic of speculative reason, the antagonist modes of 
finding the unconditionate, and the totality of their con- 
ditions, were both false. The categories of the second 
class (those of the causality and of the necessity of a 
thing) demanded not in their synthesis this homogeneous- 
ness of the conditioned and unconditionate, because here, 
not the intuition, and how it was conflate and compounded 


out of a multifarious, behoves to be represented, but only 
how the existence of the conditioned object corresponding 
to the intuition, was added to the existence of the condi- 
tion ; and there it was allowable to place the uncondition- 
ed of the every-way-conditioned in the sensible world 
(both in regard of the causality and the contingent exis- 
tence of the things) in the cogitable world, and to make 
the synthesis transcendent : and so we found, in the dia- 
lectic of pure reason, that both the " seemingly" antago- 
nist modes of finding the unconditioned for the condi- 
tioned, e. g. in the synthesis of causality for the condi- 
tioned sequences of causation and effect in the sensible 
world, did not contradict one another, when a causa- 
lity was cogitated no longer sensitively-conditioned, and 
that the very same action, which, as pertaining to the 
sensible world, was always sensitively conditioned, i. e. 
mechanically necessary, could yet have at bottom a cau- 
sality independent on the sensory, as causality of the ac- 
tor, so far forth as he belonged to the intelligible world, 
and so be cogitated as free. All depended upon this, 
to change this can into existence, which, as it were, 
one could prove in some one instance by a fact, and to 
show that certain actions pre-supposed such a causality, 
(viz. the intellectual, unconditioned by sense), whether 
such actions were actual or commanded, i. e. were ob- 
jectively and practically necessary. In actually expe- 
rienced and observed actions, as events in the sensible 
world, we never could hope to attain this connection, be- 
cause the causality of freedom must be sought always 
beyond the sensible world, in the cogitable. But nowhat 
is objected to our perception, except sensible entities. 
There remained by consequence no alternative, except 


that an incontrovertible and objective law of the causali- 
ty, secluding all sensitive conditions from its deter mina- 
tors, should be found; i. e. such a law, wherein reason 
appealed, to nowhat else and ulterior, as a determina- 
tor of causation, but which determinator reason 'herself 
contains by means of that law, and where she is ac- 
cordingly as pure reason self-practical. But this prin- 
ciple needs no seeking and no finding, but is from days 
of yore interwoven with the reason and substance of all 
men, and this is the principle of morality. Consequently, 
an unconditioned causality, and our power of having it, 
freedom^ and along with it, my being, belonging to the sensi- 
ble worlds and also at the same time to the cogitable, is not 
merely indefinitely and problematically thought, but is, in 
regard of the law of its causality, precisely and assertive- 
ly known ; and this fixes for us, and states, the reality of 
the cogitable world in a practical point of view ; and this 
fixing, which, in a theoretic point of view, would be 
TRANSCENDENT, is in a practical, immanent. But this 
step we could not take in reference to the second dyna- 
mical idea, viz. that of a necessary being; we could not ar- 
rive at him beyond the sensible world, without the interme- 
diation of the first dynamic idea. For had we hazarded 
any such step we must have quitted all data, and soared up 
to that, whereof nothing was given, by means of which we 
might make out the connection of such an intelligible per- 
son with the world of phenomena (since the Unoriginat- 
ed and Necessary behoved to be known as given without 
us), while yet this was quite possible in regard of our own 
subject, so far as, on the one hand, it determines itself by 
the moral law as a cogitable being by means of freedom, 
and, on the other hand, recognises itself as acting in the 


sensible world, conformably to this destination, as indeed 
every day's experience may prove. 

The idea freedom alone permits that we quit the da- 
tum SELF, to find the unconditioned and cogitable for the 
conditioned and sensible. Yet it is our reason itself, 
which, by its supreme and unconditioned practical law, 
recognises itself, and the being conscious of this law 
(our own person), as pertaining to the cogitable system, 
and that too with a determination of the mode how it 
as such may be active. Thus we understand how it is 
the practical faculties alone which can help us beyond the 
sensible world, and procure us a knowledge of a supersen- 
sible order and combination of things ; which knowledge 
can, however, be extended only so far as is just requisite 
for a pure practical purpose. 

There is only one remark behind, viz. that every step 
taken by pure reason, even in a practical department 
where regard is not had to subtilty of speculation, does of 
itself most minutely coincide with the whole progress and 
march of the Critique of pure speculative Reason, — nay, 
as exactly as if each step were taken just to procure this 
establishment and confirmation. Such an unsought and 
self-presenting arrival of the most important passages of 
pure practical reason at the same goal, with the exceed- 
ing subtile and often needless-seeming remarks in the 
critique of pure speculative, surprises and corroborates 
and reinforces, the maxim already known and lauded by 
others, to prosecute with all frankness and exactness a 
man's research in every scientific undertaking, without 
caring in the least against what extraneous matters it may 
offend or collide, but to go on to execute it completely by 
and for itself alone. Repeated observation has shown 


me, that when a work of this sort is ended, some things 
which, in the middle of the investigation looked exceed- 
ingly doubtful, came, notwithstanding, to a final coinci- 
dence and harmony in the most unexpected manner, with 
dogmas obtained without any reference to these results, 
or any partiality or fondness for them. Writers might 
spare themselves many blunders, and much lost toil (since 
they aimed at a dazzling result), could they but resolve to 
go more openly to work. 





The Metaphysic of Ethics was intended to follow the 
dissertation on the a priori operations of the will. It di- 
vides itself into the metaphysical elements of law, and 
the metaphysical elements of morals (ethics in the strict- 
er sense), and constitutes the anti-part to my previous 
work, the metaphysical elements of natural philosophy. 

Jurisprudence is the first part of general ethics. The 
desideratum with regard to it, is to have a system evolved 
by pure reason from principles a priori, and such a system 
would be THE METAPHYSIC OF LAW. But sincc law, al- 
though a pure notion, is intended to apply to cases pre- 
sented in observation and experience, a metaphysic system 
of it must embrace the a posteriori diversities of such cases 
to render it complete. Again, since no classification of 
what is merely a posteriori and contingent can be com- 
plete or certainly pronounced such, and an approximation 
only to systematic unity is possible, the a posteriori con- 


ceptions cannot be introduced as integral parts of the sys- 
tem, but can only be adduced by way of example in 
notes. This circumstance, however, induces me to term 
the first part of the Metaphysic of Ethics the metaphysical 
ELEMENTS of law Only, because, in reference to such prac- 
tical cases, no system, but merely an approximation to it, 
is to be looked for. I shall therefore here, as formerly in 
the metaphysic elements of natural philosophy, print in 
the text that part of law which is strictly systematic, 
and a priori ; and that part which regards given cases in 
experience, I shall discuss in notes, since otherwise it 
would not be clear what ought to be considered as meta- 
physics, and what as practical law. 

I do not know how I can remove, or how better antici- 
pate, the reproach of obscurity with which I am so often 
taunted, and not simply of obscurity, but of a studied 
and affected depth of thought, than by using the words of 
Professor Garve, a philosopher in the true sense of the 
word, in whose opinion I heartily concur, and whose rule 
I will endeavour to follow, in so far as the nature of my 
subject may permit. 

Professor Garve desires (Vermischte Aufsatze, p. 352) 
that every philosophic doctrine be made capable of a po- 
pular exposition, otherwise the author is to be deemed 
chargeable with confusion in his own ideas. This I wil- 
lingly admit, except with regard to an investigation into 
the reach and extent of the faculty of reason itself, and of 
such cognate inquiries as rest on the originary function 
and use of reason ; for there the inquiry always turns on 
exactly discriminating betwixt the sensible and the super- 
sensible, in so far as this last may be the product of rea- 
son. Distinctions like these can never be made popular, 


nor indeed any formal metaphysic, although the results 
and conclusions arrived at, may be made quite apparent 
to every sound understanding. In such an investigation, 
popularity, i. e. talking to the people in their own language 
and way of thinking, is quite out of the question. Scho- 
lastic EXACTNESS is indispensable, for the author is 
TALKING IN THE SCHOOLS ; and, without such rigid ter- 
minology, we cannot advance a step in an analysis of 

But when pedants have the effrontery to address the 
public from the pulpit or the chair, in technical phraseo- 
logy, calculated singly for the school, that cannot be pro- 
perly charged on any philosophic system, any more than 
the follies of a logodaedalist are to be charged on gram- 
mar. The absurdity attaches to the individual, not to the 
science he perverts. 

It is objected, that it is extremely arrogant, egotistical, 
nay, contemptuous, to the followers of the old systems, 
to assert, thati previotcs to the publication of my own system, 
there was no metaphysic science. But, to give due weight 
to this plausible objection, I desire that it be considered, 
" Whether or no there can be more than one single sys- 
tem of metaphysic science." There are no doubt differ- 
ent modes of philosophising, and various ways of re- 
tracing the first principles of thought, upon which after- 
wards, with more or less success, systems are erected, all 
which prepare the way, and have contributed to the esta- 
blishment, of my own. But since, in the nature of things, 
human reason is but one, there cannot be various systems 
of philosophy. In other words, there is in the nature of 
things only one true system possible, however different 
and contradictory the assertions may have been with re- 


gard to each proposition in it. In the same way, the mo- 
ralist asserts, and with justice, there is but one virtue, 
and only one doctrine of it, i. e. a single and alone sys- 
tem, establishing all virtues in one common principle. 
In like manner, the chemist maintains that there is but 
one chemistry, the physician there is one alone principle 
of classifying diseases (that according to Brown) ; and 
each of these, although excluding the prior and elder sys- 
tems, does not deny the intrinsic merits of former moralists, 
chemists, and physicians, — since, without their discoveries 
and unsuccessful essays at system, no one could have ar- 
rived at a true principle, giving systematic unity to the 
whole philosophy. Whenever, therefore, any one an- 
nounces a system of metaphysic as the result of his own 
excogitation, it is exactly the same thing as if he were to 
say, hitherto there has been no true system ; for, were he to 
admit a second and true system, then would there be two 
systems of opinion on the same subject ',-. — different and 
yet true propositions — which is a contradiction. So that, 
when the Kantic system announces itself as that, before 
which, there was no real true philosophy, it is merely in 
the situation of every new system, and pretends to no 
more than every person must in fact pretend to, who pro- 
jects a system according to his own plan. 

There is an objection of still less moment, and yet not 
entirely to be passed over, that one of the leading features 
of the Kantic system is not its own, but borrowed from 
some cognate system of philosophy (or mathematics) ; 
for such is the discovery proclaimed by the Tubingen 
reviewer concerning the author's definition of philoso- 
phy, which he had proposed as his own, and as very im- 
portant ; but which, it seems, had been given long ago by 


another in almost the same words.* I must here leave 
it to the private judgment of each, whether oi» not the 
words intelkctualis qucBdam consfructio could have suggested 
my doctrine of Time and Space, by which I distinguish so 
broadly betwixt mathematics and philosophy. I am con- 
fident Hansen would himself have refused to acknow- 
ledge this interpretation of his words ; for the possibility 
of intuitions a priori^ and that space is such intuition, are 
positions he would willingly have avoided, as, in conse- 
quence, he would have felt himself entangled in labyrin- 
thic questions of unknown and sight-outrunning extent 
and intricacy. A representation made, as it were, by 
THE understanding, was intended by this learned mathe- 
matician to signify nothing else than the drawing of lines 
corresponding to the conception : where the rule alone 
is attended to, and the trivial errors which must be made 
in the actual construction are totally abstracted from, as 
every one may understand who considers the making lines 
equal in geometry. 

Least of all is that objection worthy of regard which 
attacks the spirit of my system, by considerations drawn 
from the confusion wrought by those who attempt to ape 
it, by using some of those peculiar words which are really 
not capable of being supplied by any others in more common 
use ; for the using them in common conversation deserves 
high reprehension, and such castigation has been admi- 
nistered by Mr Nicolai, although I cannot agree with his 
remark, that they are to be dispensed with even in their 

• Porro de actual! constructione hie non quseritur, cum ne possint 
quidera sensibiles figurae ad rigorem definitionum Effingi ; sed requiritur 
cognitio eorum, quibus absolvitur formatio, quse intellectualis qusedam 
constructio est. (A. Hausen, EJem. Mathem. pars i. p. 86, a. 1734.) 

170 PREFACE, &C. 

proper field, as being a mere disguise for poverty of 
thought. However, the unpopular pedant is a better ob- 
ject of sarcasm than an ignorant dogmatist ; for, in truth, 
the metaphysician who is strictly wedded to his system, 
belongs to the latter class, even though he is willingly igno- 
rant of every thing not belonging to his own school. But 
if, according to Shaftesbury, it is no small test of truth, 
that a system, particularly a practical one, can hold out 
against the assaults of ridicule, then, I think, the time 
will come when the Kantic system may laugh in turn, 
and with the greater justice, when it beholds the fair but 
airy castles of its opponents crumble to pieces at its touch, 
and their defenders taking fright amidst the ruins, — a 
destiny which inevitably awaits them. 





The power of desire, or appetitive faculty, is the power 
man has of becoming, by his representations, the cause of 
the existence of the object represented. The ability of any 
being to act conformably to its representations, is called 


With desire or aversion is invariably connected, first, 
PLEASURE or DISLIKE, the Susceptibility for which is called 
feeling; but these last may be unattended by the for- 
mer ; for there are pleasures (e. g. of taste) independent 
of desire, originating from the bare representation, formed 
in the mind, of an object, while the percipient may be in- 
different to its existence. Secondly, the liking or dis- 
like of an object desired need not precede the desire, 
and cannot always be regarded as the cause, but must 
sometimes as the effect, of the appetition. 

Pleasure or dislike accompanying a representation, is, | 
for this reason, called feeling, that it is merely subjec- / 


TivF, and has no relation to an object, so as to beget any 
knowledge of it, nay, not even a knowledge of our own 
state : Whereas even sensations, when considered apart 
from the peculiar modifications of our own subject (as 
red, sweet, &c.), refer, as elements of knowledge, to an 
object. But the pleasure or dislike we have at red or 
sweet denotes nothing whatever with regard to the ob- 
ject,* but simply its relation to my own subject. This is 
also the reason why the phenomena pleasure and dislike 
admit of no farther explanation ; and the utmost that can 
be done is to register and classify the consequences they 
may produce in order to apply these to use in practice. 

That pleasure which is necessarily connected with de- 
siring, may be called practical pleasure, irrespective 
of its being cause or effect of the desire. On the other 
hand, that pleasure which is not necessarily connected 
with the desire of the object represented, and which, 
therefore, is no pleasure in the existence of the object of 
the representation, but singly in the representation itself, 
may be called contemplative pleasure, or inactive com- 
placency. A pleasurable feeling of this latter sort is 

* The aensory may be defined the subjective of our representations, 
for it is the understanding which refers these representations to an ob- 
ject, i. e. it alone thinks to itself somewhat by means of them. Now, 
the subjective of a representation may be of such a sort as to be capable of 
being referred to an object, so as to constitute knowledge of it, and that 
'with respect either to the form or matter. In the first case it is called in- 
tuition a priori, in the second sensation. In these cases, the receptivity is 
called THE SENSORY, and is divided into the internal sense and the ex- 
ternal. Or, otherwise, the subjective of a representation cannot become 
any element of knowledge, but refers singly to the subject, in which case 
the receptivity is called feeling. Feeling, then, is the effect of a repre- j 
sentation, and is of the sensory, no matter whether or not the represen- / 
tation causing it belong to the intellect or the sensory. 


called TASTE ; this last is properly no part of a practical 
system, but may episodically be introduced. The practi- 
cal pleasure, however, which, as a cause, precedes and 
determines the power of desire, is itself called desire in 
the strictest sense. A habitual desire is called appetite 
or INCLINATION, and since the combination of pleasure 
with the power of desire is called (in so far as this con- 
junction is deemed by the understanding subjectively valid 
according to a general rule) interest, the practical plea- 
sure is in such a case an appetitive interest. But, on 
the contrary, when pleasure is of such a sort, as can fol- 
low solely upon a previous determination of the appetitive 
faculty, it is intellectual, and not sensitive ; and the inte- 
rest taken in the object represented is an interest of 
reason ; for, were the interest sensitive, and did it not 
rest exclusively on principles of reason, then sensation 
must be connected with the pleasure, so as to determine 
the power of appetition. Farther, although, when a pure 
interest of reason is granted, no appetitive interest is al- 
lowed to be surreptitiously introduced, yet we may, out 
of compliance with common parlance, speak of an incli- 
nation,— a habitual desire, — even towards that which 
can alone be an object of intellectual complacency ; yet 
such habitual desire must not be mistaken for the cause, 
but must be taken for the effect, of the rational interest, 
in which case, the appetite is liberal and free, and is called 
A pure insensitive inclination.* 

" Inclination is here obviously used figuratively^ and a distinction 
may be taken betwixt physical and ethical inclination {Neigung). An 
inclination to do what the law commands is no doubt morally possible, 
but then it must not be figured as antecedent to the law : it can only 
follow upon the representation of the law, when the law has determined 
the will. 


Concupiscence — or lusting after — is different from de- 
siring, and is a stimulus tending to awaken it, — it is al- 
ways sensitive, but is a state of mind short of producing 
any act on the part of the appetitive faculty. 

The power of desiring, conform to intellectual represen- 
tations, is, in so far as the grounds of the determination to 
act, exist in the mind itself, and not in the object, called a 


appetitive faculty is combined with the consciousness of 
this ability of its own act to produce the object represent- 
ed, it is called choice ; if such consciousness is awanting, 
the act of the faculty is a mere wish. Appetition, when 
its inward ground of determination, consequently when 
the option, depends upon the reason of the subject himself, 
is called will. Will is therefore the appetitive faculty, 
not so much in respect of the action (that was choice), as 
in respect of the ground determining the choice of the ac- 
tion ; and it has itself no prior determinative, but is, in so 
far as it determines choice, practical reason itself. 

Subordinate to will, may be classed choice and wish, 
in so far as reason can determine the power of desire. 
Choice, when determined by pure reason, is a liberal, a 
free choice ; whereas that determinable singly by sensi- 
tive excitement is a mechanical or brute choice. The hu- 
man choice is one affected by such stimuli, but not de- 
termined by them, and is therefore in itself, although it 
may be determined to actions emanating from pure will, 
prior to such acquired facility, impure. Freedom of 
choice is the independency of its determination on sen- 
sitive stimulants. This is the negative conception of free- 
dom; the positive, the power of pure reason to be it- 
self practical or active. But this is no otherwise possibl e 


than by subordinating the maxim of ever y action to the 
condition of its fitness for law universa l ; and since the 
maxims of men do not always coincide with this requisi- 
tion, reason can only prescribe this law by an imperative 
ordaining or forbidding. 

This law of freedom is, in contradistinction to physical 
laws of nature, called moral. When directed to exter- 
nal actions and their legitimateness, it founds jurispru- 
dence. But when this law is applied to human conduct, 
and is itself the ground determining an action, so as to as- 
certain and fix its inward, and therefore also its outward, 
conformity to the law, then the knowledge a priori resulting 
from this formal determination of the maxims of the will 
is the science of ethics; and this is what is meant when it 
is said that actions in harmony with the first are legal, 
while actions in harmony with the last are moral. The 
freedom regarded in the first is external, i. e. personal li- 
berty, singly ; but that freedom concerned in the last, em- 
braces both a man's external freedom (of body) and in- 
ternal freedom (of choice), in so far as both his phenome- 
nal and real freedom are subjected to a law of reason. 
Thus, in our inquiry into the reach and extent of the fa- 
culty of reason, we said objects of the external senses are 
in space, but in time all whatever, whether of the inter- 
nal or external senses, the representations of both, being 
perceptions embraced under the conditions of the faculty 
of internal intuitions. In the same way may freedom 
be regarded as modifying the external or internal use of 
choice ; but still its law, as a pure practical principle, 
must be always valid as its inward determinator, although 
not always contemplated in that particular point of view. 




That a system of the metaphysical principles of natural 
philosophy is possible a priori, and that such a system 
should precede that mixed physics which is applied to ob- 
servation and experience, has been shown elsewhere. But 
natural philosophy can receive many propositions, on the 
evidence of experience, as quite general, and admitting 
no exception, although such universality of extent ought 
strictly to be deduced from positions a priori. As an in- 
stance of this, Newton adopted, as founded on experience, 
the principle of the equality of action and re-action, and 
yet he extended it over the whole material universe. 
Chemistry goes still farther, and founds its laws of com- 
bination and solution singly on experience, and yet relies 
on their universality and necessity so as to apprehend 
error impossible. 

But with the laws o f morals the case is different, th <ey 
arejyalid as laws only i n so far as they are founded a 
priori, and are seen to be so : nay, our judgments and 
opinions of ourselves and our actions are quite devoid of 
e thic impor t if th ey contain singly what experience teaches 
of them; an d if a ny one allowed himself to make any thing 
takenfrom experien ce a moral rule of acting, he wou ldbe 
in danger of the mo st ruinous errors.. 

If ethics were a mere doctrine of Eudaimonism, then it 
would be absurd to support it on principles a priori. For 
how plausible soever it may seem to say, that reason could 
have investigated beforehand the means of attaining a 
permanent enjoyment of real happiness and of the araeni- 


ties of life, still experience has shown that all theories a 
priori on that subject, are either tautological or void of 
foundation. Experience and observation alone show in 
what delight is taken. The natural instincts — the desire 
of rest — of motion — the love of fame — of knowledge — 
teach each individual separately, what he is to look to, for 
his chief gratification; and from these instincts he learns 
the means of reaching what he likes. All reasoning a 
priori towards founding a theory of general happiness is, 
when narrowly examined, jnoj nore than general observa- 
tions founded on induction : and since ge nerals are not 
universals,~the propositions admit of so many exceptions 
m order to adapt the choice to ea c h man's likings, that, 
^fter all, the individual is left to gro w wise by experience 
of his own or his neighbour's damage . 

The constitution of the precepts of morals is totally dif- 
ferent : they are laws for every one, and have no respect 
for his appetites or inclinations ; and that simply because 
man is free, and reason is practical. The instruction given 
in its laws is not drawn from inductive observations of him- 
self and his animal part — not from considering the causes 
of the physical system, or taking heed to that which hap- 
pens and is acted. But reason commands how man is to 
act, although no example of such action could be adduced. 
It also disregards the advantage resulting from our con- 
duct, which, indeed, experience can alone teach. For al- 
though reason allows and approves our seeking our advan- 
tage in every possible way, and does, moreover, supported 
by experience, lead us to hope, especially if we go hand 
in hand with prudence, upon the whole, for greater advan- 
tages than can probably be counted on from violating 
her laws; still the authority of her behests, as Law, does 



not depend on any such contingency, and she uses sucli 
facts merely as a counterpoise to weigh against the induce- 
ments leading to an opposite course, in order, by thus ad- 
justing the equilibrium of an otherwise undue balance, to 
secure for herself the full weight of her a priori reason. 

And since a system of a priori knowledge deduced from 
notions is called metaphysic. Practical Philosophy, 
which treats not of the physical system, but of the cogita- 
ble, would require and pre-suppose a metaphysic of free- 
dom, or of the moral system. To have such a system 
is therefore itself a duty ; nor is any man destitute of this 
first Philosophy^ however darkly conscious of it he may 
be to himself ; for how could he, if destitute of a priori 
principles, fancy himself possessed of the ground of a law 
fit for all Intelligents ? But as, in the metaphysic of the 
physical system, there were principles required for apply- 
ing the supreme a priori positions to objects of experience ; 
so, in the metaphysic of the moral system, the particular 
nature of man comes to be considered, which is known 
singly from expei'ience, in order, on it, to indicate the con- 
clusions resulting from the supreme moral law; by all 
which the purity of this last is noways affected, nor is its 
a priori original rendered at all doubtful. In other words, 
the metaphysic of ethics cannot rest on anthropology, but 
it must apply to it. 

The antipart of a metaphysic of ethics, as the second 
MEMBER of a division of practical philosophy in general, 
would be MORAL anthropology, which would contain 
the subjective obstacles or assistances the moral law might 
I meet with in the human constitution. It would treat of 
the founding moral maxims in the individual ; of propagat- 
ing them, and strengthening their action among tlie people ; 


and such other matters as rest on experience, and, in- 
deed, cannot be dispensed with, but which must not pre- 
cede the first elements, or be mixed up with them : since 
then great risk is run of extracting false or at least indul- 
gent moral laws, which give out that to be unattainable 
which for this very reason is not attained, the law not 
being held up in its purity, in which alone its strength 
consists ; or is not attained, because ungenuine and sophis- 
ticated motives towards good and duty are employed, 
which ultimately sap and overthrow morality. Moral 
Anthropology dare not, therefore, be employed as any 
standard of judging in morals, nor as a discipline for the 
mind in assisting it to discharge its duty. Here the law 
itself must be resorted to, as it emanates directly from pure 

With regard to the division just mentioned, of philoso- 
phy into theoretical and practical, and that this last could 
be no other than moral science, I have elsewhere explain- 
ed myself at length (Disquisition on the a priori Func- 
tions of the Judgment). Every practical investigation, 
teaching what may possibly be reached, by help of the 
physical system, is art, and depends singly on mecha- 
nic forces and their laws ; only those practical investiga- 
tions which rest on laws of freedom can have principles 
independent on any prior theory. For as to what trans- 
cends nature, there is no theory. Philosophy, therefore, 
can contain no technical, but singly a moral-practi- 
cal part ; and if the acquired facility of the choice, con- 
form to laws of freedom, should, in contradistinction to 
nature, be here called art, it would be such art as be- 
hoved to be establishable in a system of freedom, analogous 
to that of nature: and, in truth, a divine art, were we al- 



ways to exactly perform what reason enjoins, and to re- 
alize its Ideal. 



To all legislation (which may prescribe inward or out- 
ward actions, and these either a priori by pure reason, or 
by the will of another), there are two things requisite, 
FIRST, a law representing the action as objectively ne- 
cessary, i. e. making it a duty. Secondly, a spring of 
action, which subjectively connects the determination of 
the choice with the representation of the law. By the first, 
the action is represented as duty, and is a mere theoretic 
acquaintance with a possible determination of choice ; 
but, by the second, the obligation so to act, is conjoined 
with a subjective ground of the determination of choice. 

Every legislation, therefore (no matter whether the ac- 
tion prescribed be the same or not), may be divided, in 
respect of the spring toward action, employed. That le- 
gislation, constituting an action duty, and making the re- 

" The DEDUCTION of the division of a system, i. e. the proof of its 
completeness, and also of its continuity, ». e. that the transition from the 
divided notion to its sub-divisions, be not per saltum, is one of the most 
difficult tasks imposed on the architect of a system. And there is room 
for hesitation as to the ultimate notion, which is divided into bight 
and WBONG. It is, however, that of an act of free choice in gene^ 
HAL. Teachers of ontology generally begin with the representations, 
SOMETHING, — NOTHING, — not adverting to the circumstance, that these 
opposed conceptions are already members of a division, and presuppose a 
higher notion, which can be no other than that of any object whatso- 


presentation duty itself the spring, is ethical. But that 
legislation which does not include this last in the law, and 
admits of other springs than the naked idea duty, is ju- 
ridical. As to what such springs may be ? it is quite ob- 
vious, that since they differ from the idea duty, they must 
be taken from pathological inclinations and aversions 
bearing on the human choice, and more pai'ticularly from 
the latter, singly because the legislation necessitates, and 
does not persuade. 

The coincidence of an action with the law, abstracted 
from any regard had to the motive whence it sprang, is 
its LEGALITY. But sucli Coincidence — when the idea 
duty, founded on the law, is at the same time the inward 
spring — forms its morality. 

The duties of forensic obligation are outward only ; for 
the juridical legislation does not require that the idea duty, 
which is inward, should become likewise the determi- 
nator of the choice of the agent ; and yet, since a motive 
is required, adequate, and calculated to give purchase to the 
law, the motives to be combined with the law can, from 
the nature of the case, be external singly. The ethical le- 
gislation takes under its cognisance inward mental acts j 
but it comprehends also all outward ones, and so is extend- 
ed over every thing that can be called duty. But, upon 
this very account, since ethical legislation includes in its 
law the inward spring of acting (viz. the idea duty), 
a particular noway entering into any external legislation, 
it follows that ethical legislation cannot be exter- 
nal (not even that of a divine will), although it 
may adopt actions prescribed by other systems of legisla- 
tion into its own, as duties, and make the consideration 
of them, as such, a spring of conduct. 



From this it is evident that all duties must fall under 
the head of ethics, even while the law giving them hirtli 
may not. Thus ethic requires that I fulfil a promise, al- 
though the other party could not compel me to do so. 
Ethics adopts the law pacta sunt servanda^ and adopts also 
the thence arising duty. It is, therefore, not in ethics, 
but in law, that the legislation enjoining fidelity to one^s 
promise is contained. Ethics only teaches that, even if 
the external coercion connected juridically with the action 
were awanting, the idea of its being duty were still suffi- 
cient as a spring; for were it not so, and the legislation 
not juridical, and the duty not one of law, but one of 
CONSCIENCE, then fidelity in adhering to engagements 
would come to be classed with duties of benevolence, 

» which is very wide of truth. It is essentially a legal ob- 
ligation to which a man can be externally compelled ; 
yet it is a virtuous action (a proof of virtuous sentiments) 
to act in that manner, even when no force can be afpre- 
HENDED. Law and morals are, therefore, not so much 
distinguished by the duties they enjoin, as by the different 
genius of the legislation connecting this or the other mo- 
tive with the injunction. 

Ethical legislation is that which cannot be external, 
although the duties may be so. Juridical is that which 
can also be external. Thus it is an external duty to keep 
one's promise ; but the commandment to do so singly be- 
cause it is duty, and disregarding every other motive, be- 
longs simply to an inward legislation. It is, therefore, 
not as a particular act of duty (a peculiar kind of act, to 
which we are bound), for, both in ethics and law, question 
is made of external duties — ^but because in the given case 
the legislation is inward, and can have no external lawgiver, 


that therefore the obligation is deemed ethical. For the 
same reason, the duties of benevolence, in so far as they 
consist of external actions (or rather of obligations there- 
unto), are reckoned to belong to ethics, — the legislation 
being internal singly. Ethics has no doubt its peculiar 
duties, e. g. those towards one's-self ; but it has also seve- 
ral in common with law, only the mode of the obliga- 
tion is different ; for to do actions barely because they are 
duties, and to make the principle of duty, no matter 
whence that duty spring, the all-sufficient spring of the 
will, is the peculiar characteristic of ethical obligement. 
Hence there are direct-ethical duties, but indirectly all 
others come to be so too. 



The idea freedom is a product of pure reason, and, 
owing to that very circumstance, transcends the grasp of 
speculative philosophy ; i. e. is such a conception as has no 
example in the course of experience and observation, — is 
therefore no object of theoretic knowledge : it is not a 
constitutive, but simply regulative, and, moreover, negative 
principle of speculative reason. But, in the use of reason 
as a practical or active faculty, the reality of this idea is 
evinced in practical propositions, which, being laws, point 
to a CAUSALITY OF REASON, independent on any sensitive 
condition — determine the choice — and show a pure will, 
in which the moral ideas and laws have their seat. 

Upon this idea of freedom, which is positive in so far 
as practice is concerned, are founded unconditional prac- 


tical laws, called moral, which, in respect of us, who are 
aflfected by sensitive determinatives, and whose choice 
therefore swerves from pure will, are imperatives (cate- 
gorical commands or prohibitions) ; and this it is which 
distinguishes them from mere technical rules, which last 
are valid on certain conditions singly. By these impera- 
tives some actions are allowed or disallowed, i. e. are 
morally possible or impossible ; others again are morally 
necessary, i, e. obligatory, whence arises the idea of duty, 
the adhering to or transgressing which is connected with 
a peculiar feeling of pain or pleasure (the moral sense) : 
this feeling, however, since it is not the foundation of the 
practical laws, but only an effect produced in our mind 
when the choice is determined by them, which may be 
very different in different individuals, without affecting the 
truth of any moral judgment, — cannot be taken notice of 
in a system treating of the mere practical laws of reason. 

The following notions are common to both parts of 

Obl igation is the necessi ty .of a free action , falling un^- ' 
der a categ orical imperative of reaso n. 

An imperative is a practical rule, by which an action, in 
itself contingent, is rendered necessary, and differs in this 
point from a practical law, that whereas this last represents 
the necessity of an action, yet it does so irrespective of the 
consideration that such action may, of inward necessity, 
belong to an agent (e. g. a holy one), and yet, in the case 
of man, be merely fortuitous ; for, where the action is al- 
ready necessary, there no imperative can be expressed. ^An 
imp ei'ative is therefore a rule making necessary, a sub- 
jecti vely contingent action, and thereb y j:ep resenting the 
subject affe cted by it, as one who must necessitate hi s 


action s to harmonize with the rulo,. The categorical (i. e. 
absolute or unconditional) imperative is not one which 
commands mediately, or by the representation of any ul- 
terior END whitherward the action might point, but is one 
which, by the bare representation of the act, cogitates it as 

CESSARY. Imperatives of this sort, no practical doctrine, 
which treats of obligations, save ethic singly, can present. 
All other imperatives are technical and conditioned. 
The ground of the possibility of categorical imperatives 
is this, that they rest on no determinator of choice, which 
would require an ulterior end to be had in view, but on 
its originary freedom singly. 

An action is allowed which is not contrary to obliga- 
tion ; and this freedom, limited by no opposing imperative, 
is a moral title or faculty : from this is obvious what is 


Duty is that action to which a person is bound. Duty 
is hence the matter of obligation, and there may be one 
duty, in so far as the act is concerned, although differ- 
ent modes in which the obligation may be constituted, 
I. e. juridical or ethical. 

The categorical imperative, expressing obligation in re- 
gard of a given action, is a moral practical law. But 
since obligation implies not merely practical necessity 
(that being expressed by all law), but necessitation, the 
imperative is either a command or a prohibition, as it may 
happen. An action neither commanded nor forbidden is 
ALLOWED, merely because, with regard to it, there exists 
no law limiting the freedom of the subject, and therefore 
no duty ; such an action is morally-indifferent. A farther 
question may be moved, if there are any such adiaphorous 


actions ? and if so, is it open to any one to will or eschew 
them at pleasure, without a particular permissive law ? 
Were this question answered negatively, then would the 
faculty of acting not respect an action indiiFerent, for to 
such, morally considered, no particular law can be required. 

A DEED or action is an event falling under the laws of 
obligation, i. e. it is called an act, when regard is had 
to its originator, — the freedom of the acting subject. 
The actor is considered the author of the event ; and 
when he is supposed to know the law applying to his con- 
duct, and by virtue of which law he is bound, both the 
act and its consequences can be imputed to him. 

He to whom actions can be imputed is called person — 
MORAL PERSONALITY, man's independent individuality, is 
nothing else than the freedom of agent-intelligents, 
who rank under moral laws. Whence it is evident that a 
person is subjected to no law except such as he, either alone, 
or sometimes in conjunction with others, imposes on him- 

That is called a thing to which no event can be im- 
puted as an action. Hence every object devoid of free- 
dom is regarded as a thing. 

Right, WRONG , denote actions consistent or inconsist - 
fiTi t^witb du ty ; and these terms are so applied, in w hat- 
ever w ay th e du ty may have been constituted : an act re- 
pugnant to duty is called transgression. 

An unintentional transgression is called (for it is im- 
putable) A fault; but a deliberate transgression [e. g. one 
accompanied with the consciousness of its being so) is a 
crime or SIN : whatever coincides juridically with the 
external requirements of law is called just ; what is not so, 


/ A CO LL ISION OF DUTIES would imply such a condition 
of eth ical ob lig ation , that one duty annihilated the other. 
But because duty and obligation ar e ideas involvi ng the 
objec tive pr actical necessity of certain actions, and 
since two cont radicto ry and inconsistent impe ratives can- 
not both be necessary, it fol lows that a c olli sion of duties 
is p erfect ly inconceivableTj There may, however, be dif- 
ferent grounds towards an obligation, one or other or all 
of which may be insuflScient to beget a perfect obligation 
(rationes obligandi non obligantes), and one and the 
same individual may come to be affected by the rule pre- 
scribed by them, but duty is not established in such a 
case. Whence practical philosophers express themselves 
by saying, not that the major obligation retains its place, 
but that the more extensive ground towards obligation 
takes precedence of the less. 

External laws are understood to comprehend and in- 
clude those obligations which are recognised by reason 
a priori ; and although not promulgated, they are held to 
be so, and compose what is called the law of nature. 
Those, again, which, until promulgated, have no force, and 
which could not oblige but by reason of their proceeding 
from the legislator, are, in contradistinction, called positive 
or statutable law. An external legislation is therefore 
possible, containing simply the law of nature ; but then this 
natural law must antecede and establish the authority of 
the lawgiver {i. e. his title to oblige). 

An ultimate principle of reason, binding us to certain 
actions, is a practical law. The rule a n age nt chooses 
himself to follow is his p eculiar max im of conduct, and of_ 
such m axims the variet y is_plainly endless. 

The categorical imperative, which is merely a general 


formula expressing what obligation is annotineed, is the 
necessity of adopt ing su c h maxims as migh t serve for com-> 
mon laws for al l. Conduct is therefore to be examined 
so as to detect the private maxim from which it sprang ; 
and whether it be a principle possessed of objective vali- 
dity, can only be recognised by inquiring if reason can 
represent itself as pronouncing law universal by means of 

The simplicity of this law, contrasted with the variety 
and gravity of the consequences following upon it, as also 
its majesty and supremacy, unattended by any visible 
sanctions, is at first exceedingly surprising. But when, 
in the midst of this admiration, the power of reason is 
pointed out to sway our choice by the idea of a formal 
law, and we are guided by it to the farther cogitation of 
that property of will, its freedom, which no force of spe- 
culation, no train of experience, could have reached, we 
then observe how it is that this law should, like mathe- 
matic postulates, be indemonstrable, and yet most apo- 
DiCTiCALLY CERTAIN, and, like them, open up a vista into 
a long and spacious field of scientific practical proposi- 
tions — a field where, theoretically ^ reason found every ave- 
nue barred up, and saw the idea freedom, together with 
every other idea of the supersensible, removed to a distance 
altogether inaccessible. The harmony of an action with 
the Law of Duty is its legality; that of its maxim with 
the law is its morality. Max im is the su bj ective prin- 
cip le of acti ng, a nd is made by the Su bj ect his own rule , 
viz. how he wills to act ; whereas, on the contrary, the 
Law of D ut y commands objectively, viz. how he o u ght 
to act. 

The s upreme princip le of ethics therefore is. Act upon a 


maxim at ^all times fit for law universa l. Every maxim 
repugnant to the above is immoral. 

The law proceeds from will, maxims from choice, 
which in mankind is free. Will, with respect singly 
to the relation obtaining betwixt it and the law, is, pro- 
perly speaking, neither free nor unfree, for it does not 
regard actions, but the ideal legislation itself, i. e. is it- 
self practical reason.* Choice alone is, strictly speak- 
ing, FREE. 

Liberty of choice cannot be explained to be a power o^ 
adhering to ordeserting the law, although, as phenomenon, 
this is often the fact ; we only mean by liberty that ne- 
gative property of our thinking frame not to be deter- 
mined to act by physical excitements. What it is really, 
and how freedom positivley co-acts the sensory, is be- 
yond the bounds of human speculation ; and the pheno- 
menal observance or transgression of the law can never 
serve to give any insight into the nature and essence of a 
supersensible object. It is one thing to note as true what 
experience has taught ; another to make such experience 
and observation the principle of a definition, and the 
mark and general criterion by which to distinguish free 
and mechanic choice ; for experience and observation 
does not inform us that the mark defined by, necessarily 
adheres to the notion, which, however, is essential for a 
sound and unerring criterion. Finally, liberty cogitated 
as an ability of acting on the representation of the law, is 
alone a power, and to swerve from the law is not a power, 

* The meaning is, practical reason or pure will is the substratum of 
man's moral nature, t. e. is the ground of the possibility of his freedom 
and independency on every sensitive determinator, and therefore free- 
dom is not so much a predicate, as a coxseqtjekce, of will. 


but weakness, and it is clearly absurd to explain the for- 
mer by the latter — a power by the want of it. 

A LAW is a proposition enouncing a categorical im- 
perative. He who commands by law is a lawgiver, 
and is the author of juridical obligation, although not ne- 
cessarily the author of the law itself ; for if he is, then it 
is a positive and arbitrary enactment. That law which 
imposes on us its unconditioned obligation a priori, may 
be cogitated as emanating from the will of a supreme law- 
giver, i. e. of God (to whom rights are owed, but of whom 
no duty can be predicated) ; but this is merely the idea of 
a moral agent, whose will is law for all, and does not mean 
that he is the author of the law itself. 

Imputation, in a moral sense, is that judgment where- 
by some one is stated to be the author of an event, which is 
then called his act or deed ; and if such judgment is ac- 
companied by legal sequents, then the imputation is ju- 
diciary. If no legal effects follow, then the judgment is 
no more than a private judgment, and the imputation is in- 
valid or dijudicatory only. That person who has a 
title to pronounce judiciary imputation is called the judge 
or court {forum, tribunal). 

What any one does over and above what he can be 
compelled to, is meritorious, or of well-desert ; what ac- 
tions do no more than tally with the legal standard are 
of debt singly, and when they fall short of it are of de- 
merit or ill-desert. The legal consequence of demerit 
or guilt is punishment ; that of merit is reward, provid- 
ed the reward promised in the law was the motive incit- 
ing to action. Conduct precisely exhaustive of what we 
were indebted to, is unattended by any judicial effect. 


Benignity or favour stands in no legal relationship to any 
action. ' 

The good or evil results consequent on an indebted ac- 
tion, likewise the consequences of neglecting a meritori- 
ous, cannot be imputed to the agent. They may tell 
upon the actor, but cannot be deemed effects of the law. 
The good springing from an action of well-desert, and 
the evil following on an unjust action, are imputable. 

However, subjectively, the grade of the imputability of 
an action is to be estimated by the magnitude of the ob- 
stacles overcome. The_ g reater hindrance f rom without, 
and the _j e ss the hindranc e to duty from within, so much 
the hig her rises the moral hones ty and well-deservingness 
of t he act ; e. g. if I rescue from g r eat wretchedness one 
who is a stranger and un known to me, and that at great^ 
personal inconvenience to myself. 

Conversely : The less t he impediment is from without, 
and t he gr eater the obstacles are withi n, s o much gr eater 
is the de merit in the scale of giijlt: The state of mind, 
therefore, in which a bad action is per pe trated, whether 
unagitated or inflamed, will gre atly ch ange the imputa- 
tion both of the deed and its consequences. 




§ A. What the science of law is. 

The aggregate of those laws which may be externally 
promulgated is law (jus). If really so announced by a 
lawgiver, such legislation becomes real, and composes 
POSITIVE LAW (jus scriptum). He who knows this, is a 
jurisconsult; and is even jurisperitus when he can 
dexterously apply the law to occurring cases, — a skill, 
which, if great, may even entitle a man to rank among 
the JURISPRUDENTS. When, however, we abstract from 
such jurisperitia anA jurisprudential what remains is mere- 
ly the scientific theory of law. By the science of law is 
meant the systematic knowledge of the principles of the 
law of nature, — from which positive law takes its rise, — 
which is for ever the same, and carries its sure and un- 
changing obligations over all nations and throughout all 

§ B. What is law? 

This is a question which may embarrass the lawyer as 
much as the celebrated question, " What is truth ?" 



does the logiciao : for he must avoid tautology, and give a 
general explanation, abstracted from the particular legis- 
lation obtaining in any one country. Wliat the law in 
any instance is {quid sit Juris), the jurisconsult can easily 
tell ; but whether it is RiaHT or just that it should be so, 
is what he wants a criterion to determine ; but this crite- 
rion can only then be found when, abandoning all poste- 
riori principles, he ascends to the sources of reason, and 
discovers on what, all legislation whatsoever, can alone be 
based ; in which analysis, positive law is doubtless a great 
help and guide. But laws founded singly on experience, 
are like the mask in the fable, beautiful, but hollow. 

The notion of law, in so far as it imports obligation,— 
<.e. annexes the predicate, ^^ forbidden " or ^^ allowed" to an 
action, — regards, ^r^^, the external practical relation of per- 
son to person, in so far as the actions of one may affect or 
influence another ; second, it does not regard the relation 
betwixt the choice of one and the wishes or wants of an- 
other, as in deeds of benevolence or severity, but merely 
respects the relationship of choice to choice ; thirdly, in this 
reciprocal relationship of choices, no question is made as 
to the matter chosen. The form of the choice, i. e. the 
choice considered as free, is alone regarded, i. e. whether 
the action of one man is consistent with, and does not im- 
pair, the free choice of another. 

Law, — the rule of right, — is therefore the aggregate of 
those conditions, according to which personal choices may 
harmonise and not destroy one another by being subor- 
dinated to freedom's law universal. 


§ C. Supreme principle of law. 

Every action is right and just, the maxim of which al- 
lows the agents freedom of choice to harmonise with the free- 
dom of every other, according to a universal law. 

If, therefore, my deportment, or, generally, my condi- 
tion, is not inconsistent with the universal freedom of 
every other person, he does me a wrong who hinders 
such state, or obstructs my actions ; for such obstruction 
is inconsistent with a universal law of liberty. 

From this it follows, that no one is legally entitled to 
demand, that I make this principle of universal legality 
the maxim or spring of my conduct. Another's freedom 
may be indifferent to me, — nay, I may wish to invade it ; 
but so long as I do it not, I am juridically just. That jus- 
tice should be itself my maxim, belongs to the second part 
of ethics. 

The law or universal rule of right is. So act tJiai the 
use of thy freedom may not circumscribe the freedom of any 
other {i. e. if thy act or maxim were made imperative on 
all) — a law imposing no doubt obligation, but which does 
not exact the determination of choice by the contempla- 
tion of the obligation. Reason singly announces, that it 
in idea so limits freedom, and that others may in real 
fact and event co-act such limitation; and this it an- 
nounces as a postulate incapable of farther proof. As 
we here treat not of offices of virtue, but explain what is 
just and right, it is impossible to represent this law as the 
spring moving us to action. 


§ D. Law carries with it a title of co-action. 

An obstacle opposed to that wliich hinders an eflFect, 
advances that eflFect, and tends to that end. But every 
thing unjust is a hindrance to freedom, according to law 
universal. Again, co-action is a hindrance put upon free- 
dom. Therefore, if a certain use of freedom is a hin- 
drance to freedom universal, i. e. unjust and wrong, then 
co-action preventing such misuse of freedom goes to esta- 
blish freedom according to a universal law, i, e. is just or 
right ; and consequently law has in itself a right to co- 
act him who attempts to violate it. 

§ E. Law may likewise be strictly defined as that by 

VERSAL freedom. 

The purport of this sentence is, that law is not to be re- 
garded as made up of two parts, the one obligation, the 
other a title to co-act ; but that the very notion of law 
consists in that of the possibility of combining universal 
mutual co-action with every person's freedom. 

For since law respects that only which is external and 
phenomenal in an action, strict law, i, e. law in which no 
ethical consideration is introduced, can require no inter- 
nal, but merely external, determinators of choice, even al- 
though co-action be required to do so. All law whatever 
rests, it is true, on the consciousness of obligation under 
the moral law itself; but pure or strict law, in the sense 
now taken, does not expect that this consciousness should 
be the spring of conduct ; but supports itself as a legisla- 
tion for external actions, on its principle of co-action. 


When, therefore, it is said a creditor is entitled to demand 
payment from his debtor, that never implies that he may 
represent to the latter that his own reason imposes that 
obligation ; but it signifies that external co-action physi- 
cally forcing the payment of debt consists with universal 
freedom, and so even with the debtor's. This position of 
reciprocal action and co-action throughout the whole sys- 
tem of Intelligents, gives, if I may so speak, a lively 
image of the notion law in a sensible figure d priori^ and 
carries us by analogy to the law of action and re-action 
in the communicating of external motion ; and as by vir- 
tue of it the QUANTITY OF MOTION remained undimi- 
nished, so here by virtue of this reciprocal co-active me- 
chanism, the QUANTUM OF PEKsoNAL FEEEDOM is pre- 
served undiminished throughout the system, in the inter- 
course and exchange of man with man. 

Again, as in the mathematics, the truths of that science 
are not deduced from the naked notion, but by help of the 
configurations of space answering to the given notion ; so 
it is not so much the notion law, as that equal and mu- 
tual co-action corresponding to the idea, by means of 
which, a deduction, and, as I may say, delineation of its 
truths are possible ; [i. e. the propositions are not taken 
from the originary moral idea of the law, but from this 
subjected mechanism. (Beck. Com. 107.) And be- 
cause to this dynamic notion co-action, there corre- 
sponds a formal one, taken from the mathematics pre- 
viously spoken of, it comes to pass, that what is right, is 
cogitated and spoken of as we do of right lines, where 
" rigM" the rectilineal, are opposed to " curves" and ob- 
liqtie lines. That kind of rightness which is opposed to 
" curve" is that inward property of a line, whereby it is the 


only one possible betwixt two points ; and that Tightness 
opposed to obliquity takes place where, betwixt two in- 
tersecting segments, one only perpendicular can be drawn, 
inclining to neither segment, but dividing equally the in- 
closed space. 

In like manner, law insists that there be rigidly and 
equally given to every man his own ; a mathematical pre- 
cision not exigible in the offices of virtue, these last often 
admitting a certain latitude of application. However, 
without wandering into the domain of ethics, there are 
two cases demanding solution, but which no CEdipus 
seems willing to resolve, and look as if they belonged to 
the " Intermundia'' of Epicurus. Such two stumbling- 
blocks* must forthwith be removed from the domain of 
jurisprudence proper, lest their uncertainties should be 
imagined to have any common part with the firm and 
stable principles of law. 



Law, strictly so called, always implied the power to 
co-act. But people have fancied to themselves law in 
some broader sense, where the title to co-act is indefinite, 
and quite indeterminable. Of this kind there have been 
usurped two sorts, equity and necessity: the former 
is alleged to be a law which has no co-action, but the lat- 

• Viz. Equity and Necessity. 


ter is a co-action (necessity) which has no law ; and the 
difficulty springs from this, that they are cases of opaque 
law, to decide which, no judge can be constituted. 


Equity, considered in itself, does not in any wise ad- 
dress itself to the ethical duty of another ; for he who vin- 
dicates his property on this head, stands upon his own 
right ; but he is unable to assign the data which would 
empower the judge to decide his cause; for example, a 
servant who has contracted with his superior for a certain 
hire, may, at the expiry of his service, come to receive 
wages in coin greatly depreciated, though nominally the 
same in value ; and the same would occur in loans, or in 
any other money-contract, where the debtor holds him- 
self entitled to exact payment higher in proportion to the 
depreciation of the currency : but he has no claim in law, 
and sees himself forced to call on equity for aid, a mute 
goddess, who returns no response : and unless parties have 
guarded against contingencies by the specific stipulations 
of their contract, a judge can give no relief, for he cannot 
pronounce sentence upon vague and indefinite conditions. 

Hence it follows, that a court of equity (in a ques- 
tion about the rights of man), is a contradiction and ab- 
surdity. There alone, where the proper rights of the 
judge are involved, ought he to give ear to the dictates of 
equity. Thus the crown may equitably take upon itself 
the losses sustained by others on its behalf, and ought, 
when called upon to do so, to indemnify the subject ; al- 
though, in point of law, the crown might urge that the 


subject had, at his own risk singly, undertaken its de- 

The motto of equity is summum jus sumnia injuria, ex- 
treme law is extreme injustice; but this inconvenience 
cannot be remedied by law, although the claim is a claim 
of right. The other part of ethic alone teaches to deem 
the rights of man sacred and inviolablp. 


This alleged right, is that title which a man is sup- 
posed to have, of killing another, who has done him no 
harm, provided he cannot otherwise extricate himself 
from danger. And here it seems that law is repugnant 
to itself. For this is not the case of an assassin whom 
I am allowed to anticipate, by consigning him to death ; 
but of alleged violence which I am entitled to use against 
another from whom I have received no wrong. 

This assertion, it is plain, does not refer to any given 
law, but respects the sentence judges must pronounce 
when such a case of necessity is carried before them ; for 
there can be no law adjudging death to him who in a 
case of shipwreck knocks another from an oar, which is 
barely sufficient to save himself. The punishment threat- 
ened by the law cannot be made higher than the loss of 
life, already impending over him. A statute can, there- 
fore, have no effect in such a crisis ; for the punishment 
being uncertain, cannot outweigh the dread of death, 
which is instant and certain. The law sees itself in this 
way forced to consider violent self-preservation, not as de- 
void of blame, but as incapable of being punished. And 


this impunity, resulting entirely from the accidental na- 
ture of the case, has been constantly mistaken by jurists 
for an impunity founded in the nature of the law itself, 
i, e. the action has been regarded as just and blameless. 

The motto of necessity is, necessity has no law. How- 
ever, there never can be any case, making the unjust and 
wrong justifiable before the law. 


A. Division of juhidical offices. 

In this division we may follow Ulpian, by slightly 
modifying our understanding of his legal formulcB, — 
a meaning perhaps darkly present to his own mind, and 
which can be evolved from them with great ease and ele- 

1. HoNESTE VIVE — {he an honest man.) — Juridical 
honesty or uprightness consists in upholding one's per- 
sonal worth, as a man, against all others, — an obligation 
capable of being expressed by the following formula : 
" Suffer thyself not to become the bare mean of others, and if 
thou serve them, be also their end.^^ This obligation is after- 
wards explained, as founded on the rights of humanity in 
a man's own person — (lex justi.) 

2. Neminem ^LiEDE — {do no man zvrong) — even though 
as a consequence thou must abandon all connection with 
others, and go out of society, — (lex juridiea.) 

3. StJUM cuiguE tribue — {give each man his otvn.) — 


Understood literally, these words are void of meaning, 
for that cannot be given to another which he already has. 
The formula can therefore alone signify, enter with thy 
fellow-men into that state,— socibty,— where each man's 
own is defended from the violence of his neighbour— (lex 

These tlrree classical formulae make up one entire divi- 
sion of the principles of law, and found a division of ju- 
ridical obligation into internal — external — and that com- 
posite obligation, which is constituted by subsuming the 
second under the principle of the first. 

B. Division of rights. 

A SYSTEM OF RIGHTS is called LAW, and is either natc- 
RAL, or statutable and positive. In the first case, 
law rests entirely on pure principles a priori ; in the lat- 
ter, it is considered as based on the will of a lawgiver. 

2. Right is the ethical faculty or title of obliging 
another, and is the legal ground on which the latter sort 
of law is based ; and of such right there are two kinds, 
ORiGiNARY and DERIVED : the first is that birth-right 
of man which subsists independently of any legal act ; 
the second is that which is acquired to him by such an 

The congenital mine and thine, may be also called 
the INWARD or intrinsic right, for external rights must 
always be acquired. 



Freedom is the alone unoriginated birth-right of 
man, and belongs to him by force of his humanity ; and 
is independence on the will and co-action of every other 
in so far as this consists with every other person's free- 
dom. Subordinate to this supreme idea, and included 
under it, are the rights, — 1. Of Equality, i. e. the title 
not to be held bound to others, beyond what they are in 
their turn bound to ; consequently the right of every one 
to be HIS OWN MASTER {sui juHs) : 2. The right to be 
regarded as legally innocent and guiltless, in so far as 
no one has been injured by his use of his freedom : 3. 
Lastly, the right to do to every man whatever implies 
nothing derogatory to that other's rights, as, for example, 
to exchange one's ideas and opinions with another, to tell 
or promise somewhat, and that whether true or untrue, 
whether sincerely or insincerely ; for it is the province 
of the other to believe or discredit what is said — to ac- 
cept or decline what is promised.* The reason why this 

• To utter a deliberate untruth is in common speech called lying or 
falsehood ; for it may injure the person to whom it is told, if he good- 
naturedly repeat it, and so render himself the laughing-stock of others. 
But, juridically, that alone is falsehood which directly violates the rights 
of man, e. g. the false narrative of a contract, instituted for the purpose 
of attaching the property of another. Nor is this distinction between 
these two kindred conceptions ill-founded ; for, in any statement made by 
one man to another, it is entirely at the option of this last what weight 
he will give to what he hears. And yet, to say of any one that he is a 
man not to be believed, borders so near on the charge that he is a liar, 
that the line marking out what falls within the domain of law, and what 
within that of ethics, is all but imperceptible. 


division, breaking up the conception freedom into its sub- 
ordinate parts, has obtained among systems of natural 
law, is this, that when a question arises as to any derived 
right, and the question arises on whom the burden lies to 
prove either the fact, or to establish the law of his case, 
the party who declines the obligation, and asserts it to 
be with the other, does in fact appeal to his birth-right, 
and so declares, that to impute to him an obligation to 
prove, is inconsistent with some part or other {e. g. equa- 
lity, innocence) of his character freedom ; and this may 
be carried through all the diflferent relations into which 
freedom can specifically enter. 

Further, because this birth-right is one and indivisible, 
the division of rights consists of two members of most 
unequal dimensions ; and therefore this right is discussed 
now in the introduction, and the subdivisions of natural 
law restrained to the external riglits of mine and thine. 


I. — All obligations incumbent on man to fulfil, are 
either juridical, for which outward laws are admissible to 
co-act their observance, or ethical, where no such legis- 
lation is conceivable ; and these ethica l offices cannot 
fall under any outward co-active legislation, because such 
offices de pend on certain ends and de sig ns which it is 
t he im per ative d uty of man to p ropo se to himself . But 
no outward compulsion can give any person certain in- 



tentions, for these depend on himself alone ; for even 
though outward actions can be extorted, tending to that 
end, still the subject himself may be disinclined to it. 

IL — Man, as a subject of obligation, is considered singly 
with reference to his freedom, which is supersensible, 
that is, his humanity, in which consists his personality, 
exempting him from every phenomenal determinator 
{homo noumenon), and requires to be contradistinguished 
from himself, as the same person subjected to the condi- 
tions of time and space {homo phenomenon) ; and these, 
when applied to those two kinds of offices, resting on the 
notions right and end, give birth to the following division 
of all moral science, and is a division founded on the 
relations subsisting betwixt the law and the matter of 

Offices of perfect or determinate obligation. 

^- ^ . 







The rights of humani- 
ty in a man's own 


1 Juridi- f 
I cal ] 
) offices. (^ 


The rights of man. 


The ends of humanity ) Ethical J The ends of other 
in one's own person. J offices. (^ men. 






Offices of indeterminate obligation. 

Besides the above division, the subjects mutually oblig- 
ing one another may sUmd in different relations, and 


these relationships would afford the ground-plan of ano- 
ther division, according to the relation betwixt the obliger 
and the obliged. 

I. II. 

The legal relation betwixt The legal relation of man to 

man and beings possessed nei- beings possessed both of rights 

ther of rights nor obligations. and subjected to obligation. 


For these are irrational be- For that is a relation be- 
ings, devoid of power to oblige, twixt man and man. 
and towards whom no obliga- 
tion can be constituted. 


The legal relation subsisting The relation betwixt man 

betwixt man and beings, sub- and that being who has rights, 

jected to obligations, but de- but is subjected to no duties, 
void of rights. 


For these would be men de- In a system of pure philoso- 
void of personality (slaves). phy ; for such a being is no ob- 

ject of possible experience. 

Division of Ethic as a general Si/stem of human Offices or Duties. 

Elementology. Methodology. 

Juridical offices. Ethical offices. Didactics. Ascetics. 

Private Public 
law. law. 

Where we have exhibited at once the materials and the 
architectonic form of the science. 


The law of nature ought not to be divided, as is often 
done, into natural and social, but into natural and 
CIVIL OR municipal; the first is called private, the se- 
cond public law; for to the state of nature, not social 
institutions, but the civil or municipal, are to be oppos- 
ed. In the state of nature, society need not be awant- 
ing, but only that civil society, securing by public in- 
stitutions the rights of man ; and that is the reason why 
the NATURAL is called private law {Jus privatum). 
* * * * 

After this follows a course of theoretic law, which 
omitting, we arrive at ethics or morals strictly so 

THE % 



Ethics signified of old the whole of moral philosophy in 
general, and this was also called the system of the offices 
(de officiis). But, in modern times, the name ethics came 
to be confined to that part of moral philosophy which 
treats of duties not cognisable by an external and positive 
legislation. Whence it has come that the general system 
of the offices falls into jurisprudence treatingof law ex- 
ternal ; and into morals, which is independent on any 
outward legislation. But in the present translation we 
follow Kant, and have restored the word ethic to that sig- 
nification in which it was originally taken by the sages of 
antiquity, as comprehending both law and morals. 


The notion duty implies, in the very essence of it, the 
farther notion necessitation, i. e. co-action exercised by the 
law upon the choice ; and this co-action may be either fo- 
reign or proper (self-command). The ethical imperative 
announced by its categorical behest (an absolutely uncon- 
ditioned shall), this co-action, which, however, cannot be 
extended to all Intelligents whatsoever (for of these some 


may be " hjoly'^) ; but is valid for mankind only, as phy- 
sical beings endowed with reason, who are unholy* enough 
to be seduced into the transgression of the law, even 
while they recognise and acknowledge its authority, and, 
when they do obey it, obey unwillingly (i. e. by withstand- 
ing inclination) ; in which point indeed self-co-action 
properly consists. But since man is at the same time a 
free (moral) agent, the notion " duty" can involve no 
more than self-co-action {i. e. by the naked representation 
of the law), at least when regard is had to the inward 
mobile of the will ; for, if the case were otherwise, it 
would be impossible to reconcile any such co-action with 
man's liberty of choice. But where the constraint is in- 
ward, the notion " duty" comes within the sphere of 

The instincts of man's physical nature give birth to 
obstacles which hinder and impede him in the execution 
of his duty. They are in fact mighty opposing forces, 
which he has to go forth and encounter j these he must 

* And yet man, as a moral beinj^, does, when he considers himself ob- 
jectively, and beholds in an intellectual apprehension the destiny whi- 
therward his reason calls him, deem himself enough holy, to violate his 
law only unwillingly and with compunction : nor can there exist any 
one so irrecoverably far gone and decayed in ethical apostacy, as not to 
feel, in any instance of transgression, an inward warfare and self-dislike, 
against which he is compelled to struggle. This strange spectacle, and 
that mankind should at this conjuncture (where the fable represents 
Hercules betwixt virtue and voluptuousness) give ear rather to bis ap- 
petites than to the law, is quite inexplicable ; for we can explain events 
only by assigning a cause agreeably to the laws regulating the mecha- 
nism of the physical system ; and were we to do so here, then were the 
will not free. Whereas it is just this double and contrary self-co-action, 
and ITS iNEviTABiLiTV, that first of all reveals to mankind that amaz- 
ing quality of his nature, moral freedom. 


deem himself able to overcome by his reason, and that 
not at some future period, but even now, — not bit-by-bit, 
but to beat all down at one single blow. He must judge 
that he can, what things soever the law ordains that he 
OUGHT and should. 

• But the consciousness of the power, and the predeter- 
minate resolve, to withstand a strong and unjust enemy, is 
VALOUR ; and, in regard of that which opposes the advance- 
ment of the moral sentiments within us, moral valour, i. e. 
virtue. Whence it has resulted, that the general system 
of the offices is, in that part which brings not the outward 
but the inward freedom under control, a doctrine or the- 
ory of virtue. 

Jurisprudence treated singly of the formal conditions 
of man's outward freedom (viz. that freedom should re- 
main consistent with itself, in the event of its maxims 
being elevated to the rank of law universal), i. e. it inves- 
tigated law only. But ethic objects a matter to man's free 
choice, AN END given by pure reason for him to aim at, 
and which is represented as an objectively-necessary end, 
and so, consequently, as a " duty." For since the a ppe- 
tites and instincts of the senso ry mislead the will t o ends 
siibye rsj ve of moralit y, legislative reason can in no other 
manner guard against their inroad, than by objecting to 
the will an opposite and contrary and moral end, given in- 
dependently of the sensory, and so a priori. 

An end is the object of the choice of a reasonable 
being; by the representation of which, the Intelligent is de- 
termined to an act tending to obtain and realize such ob- 
ject. Now, it is undoubted that I may be forced to act 
80 as to be merely an instrumental towards some ulterior 
and foreign end ; but I never can in any event be con- 



strained to object to myself my end. I alone can assign 
and fix to myself the end I will to aim at. But, on the 
hypothesis that I stand under an obligation to consti- 
tute, as my end, somewhat objected by reason to my intel- 
lectual regards, that is, that I ought, over and above the 
formal determination of will (treated of in law), to super- 
add to it a material deter minator, i. e. an end, contrary 
and opposed to the ends brought forth by sensitive excite- 
ment ; then there emerges the notion of an end, which is 
in itself a ground of duty ; and the doctrine of such an 
end cannot fall under the sphere of law, but it belongs to 
morals, which alone involve in their very notion that of 
self-co-action, according to ethic laws. 

Upon this account ethics may, in this part, be defined 
to be THE SYSTEM OF THE ENDS of pure practical reason. 
Physical co-action and self-co-action mark or determine 
the boundary obtaining betwixt law and morals, the two 
grand stems of the science of ethics ; and that ethics must 
comprehend duty, to observe which, no one can be con- 
strained physically by others, is just a corollary from the 
position, that it is a doctrine of the ends of reason ; it 
being absurd to talk of force, when question is made of 
the practical autonomy of the agent himself. 

Again, that ethics is a doctrine of the offices of virtue, 
results from the definition given above of virtue, taken in 
conjunction with that peculiar obligation, the nature of 
which has just been stated. In fact, there is no other de- 
termination of will, except the determination and design 
to adopt an end, which carries already in the very notion 
of it, that the person cannot be co-acted to it physically 
by the will of another. No doubt another person may 
force me to do what is contrary to my own design, and 


such deed may be a mere mean or instrumental toward 
gaining the ends of that other person ; but this he cannot 
force me to, that I should make his ends ray own ; and it 
is clear, that no end can be mine, unless I make it so by 
proposing it to myself. Indeed, an end imposed by any 
other would be a contradiction — an act of freedom devoid 
of liberty ; but there is no contradiction in designing an 
end, to have which end is the person's duty ; for here I co- 
act myself, and this is quite consistent with my freedom. 
But now the question arises, how is such an end pos- 
sible ? for the logical possibility of the notion of a thing, 
is insufficient to enable us to conclude upon the objective 
reality of the thing itself. 



The rela ti on of an end to d uty jmay be cogitate d in a 
twofold manner : either begi nning with th e end to as sign 
the maxiD a_fl£.actionsJ n harm ony with duty, or beginning 
with_the maxi m to determin ejhat_e nd, which it is a duty 
incumbent on mankind to propose to himsel f. Jurispru- 
dence advances by the first method. Every one is free to 
give his actions what end he will, but the principle regu- 
lating the causality of the will is fixed a priori, viz. that 
the freedom of the agent must be exercised in such a man- 
ner as to consist with the freedom of every other person, 
conformably to law universal. 

But morals strike into an opposite march : here we can- 
not commence with the ends mankind may design, and 
from them determine and statute the maxims he has to 


take, i. e. statute the duty he has to follow ; for in this 
latter event, the grounds of his maxims would be experi- 
mental, which we know beget no obligation, the idea duty 
and its c at egorical imperative taking t h eir rise in pure 
reason_only. Nor could we indeed even talk of duty, were 
the will's inward principles based on tentative and expe- 
rimental ends, these being all selfish and egotistical. In 
this branch of ethics, then, the idea obligation must guide 
to ends which we ought to aim at, and constitute maxims 
pointing to those ends conformably to ethic laws. 

Postponing for the present the investigation into what 
these ends are which mankind ought to propose to him- 
self, and how such ends come to be possible, we must re- 
mark, that a material duty of this kind is called a moral 
duty or virtuous oifice ; and it may be requisite to state 
upon what accounts it is so. 

To every duty there corresponds a right, considered as 
a TITLE in general ; but every duty does not import that 
the other has a right (a legal title) juridically to co-act 
the execution of duty from the obliged ; but where duties 
are coercible, they are, strictly speaking, legal duties (duty- 
in-law). Exactly in the same way, to every obligation 
there corresponds the notion virtue ; but every ethic duty 
is not upon that account one of the offices of virtue : that 
obligation, for instance, is not, which abstracts from all 
given ends, and regards the bare formal of the will's deter- 
mination, viz. that the incumbent action be performed out 
of regard had to duty. It is only in the case where an 
action is at once both an end and a duty, that a virtuous 
ofiice can be constituted ; of this latter sort there may be 
several, and so different virtues ; whereas of the former, 
as there can be but one ethical obligement, so only one 


fluty, i. e. one virtuous sentiment extending to all actions, 
of wliatever kind. 

Farther, another essential distinction obtaining betwixt 
juridical and moral obligements is, that the former are 
coercible, whereas the latter depend singly upon free self- 
co-action. Farther, for finite holy beings (incapable of 
being tempted to swerve from duty), there can be no doc- 
trine of virtue, but a science of ethics singly, which is an 
autonomy of practical reason ; whereas a system of virtues 
treats not only the autonomy, but also, at the same time, 
of the AUTOKRATY of the will, i. e. is a doctrine of the 
force reason has to vanquish and beat down all the appe- 
tites which oppose the execution of the law. A force not, 
indeed, immediately given in an intuition, but rightly in- 
ferred from the categorical imperative. Whence it results, 
that man's morality is, at its highest grade, nothing more 
than VIRTUE, even admitting that such morality were al- 
together pure {i. e. defecated thoroughly from every ad- 
mixture of foreign springs) ; a state and tone of soul which 
fancy has impersonated in the character of the sage, an 
IDEAL whitherwards mankind ought in unremitting pro- 
gression to advance. 

Nor can virtue be explained to be a habit, as Cochins has 
done in his prize essay, where he treats of it as an apti- 
tude in morally good actions, acquired by long-continued 
custom ; for when such use and wont is not effectuated 
by stable, firm, and ever more and more clarified first 
principles, then is the habitude, — like any other mechan- 
ism brought about by technical reason, — neither fortified 
against all assailants, nor has it any guard against the 
sudden fits and starts new enticements and unforeseen 
circumstances may occasion. 


Remark. — To virtue = ^ «, is opposed non-virtue (moral 
weakness) = 0, as its logical antipart ; but vice = — a, as its 
real antagonist. And it is a question not only devoid of mean- 
ing, but even offensive, to inquire if great crimes may not de- 
mand and display more strength of soul than even great virtues ; 
for by strength of soul we understand the stedfastness of man's 
will, as a being endowed with freedom, i. e. in so far as he is in 
a healthy state of intellect, and retains his command over him- 
self. Great crimes are on the contrary paroxysms, at whose as- 
pect the sane part of mankind stand aghast. In fine, this sort 
of question may be compared to the question, whether a person 
may not have greater physical power in a fit of frenzy than when 
in his right wits ; and this question may be answered in the af- 
firmative, without allowing him upon that account to be possess- 
ed of greater strength of soul : for, as crimes take their rise from 
the inverted domination of the passions and appetites over rea- 
son, where no strength of soul is at all conceivable, this ques- 
tion is like asking if a man in a fever may not exhibit more 
strength than when in health, which may unhesitatingly be de- 
nied, because the want of health, which last consists in the due 
equilibrium and adjustment of all a man's bodily powers, is a 
weakening of the system of his forces, according to which sys- 
tem only, it is, however, that we can state any estimate of his 
absolute health. 


End is an object of free choice, which determines itself 
by the representation of this object to an action, whereby 
this end is brought forth. Every action has consequent- 
ly its own end j and since no one can design an end ex- 


cept by HIMSELF constituting the object chosen his end, it 
results that man's aiming at any particular end is an act of 
his own freedom, and no effect operated by constitutional 
mechanism of his system. But because an act, fixing an 
end, is a practical principle, ordaining not a means (which 
were a hypothetical commandment), but the end itself 
(». €. unconditionally), it follows that there is a categorical 
imperative of pure practical reason, connecting the idea 
duty with that of an end in general. 

That there must be such an end, and a categorical im- 
perative corresponding to it, is apparent from this, that 
where there are free actions, there must also be ends, 
whitherwards they tend, as their object ; and among these 
ends, there must be some, whereof it is of the very essence 
to be duties. For were none such given, then, because no 
action can be aimless, would every end be only valid in 
the eye of reason as a means instrumental and conducive 
towards some farther end, and a categorical imperative 
would be impossible ; a position which would overthrow 
all ethics. 

Accordingly we do not here treat of ends which man- 
kind proposes to himself by force of the physical instincts 
of his system, but of such ends as he ought to aim at. 
The former might be found a technical (subjective) doc- 
trine of ends, and would contain the dictates of prudence 
in choosing one's ends ; but the latter must be called the 
ethical (objective) doctrine of ends, a distinction which 
we do not insist upon, because the science of ethics is in 
its very notion contradistinguished from anthropology, 
the latter rising upon experimental principles, the former 
again, i. e. the ethical doctrine of ends, treating of duties 
bottomed upon a priori principles of pure practical reason. 




Such ends are one's own perfection, — our neigh- 
bour's HAPPINESS. 

These ends cannot be inverted, and we cannot state as 
such, — one's own happiness, — our neighbour's perfection. 

For his own happiness is an end wliich all mankind has 
by force of the physical constitution of his system, conse- 
quently this end cannot be regarded as a duty, without 
stating a contradiction. What every one inevitably wills, 
cannot fall under the notion duty, duty importing neces- 
siTATiON to an end unwillingly adopted. So that it is a 
contradiction to say a man is obliged to advance his own 
happiness with all his might. 

And there is the like contradiction in saying that we 
ought to design the perfection of another, and to hold our- 
selves obliged to further it ; for the perfectness of another, 
when considered as a person, consists in this, that he can 
impose upon himself his own end, agreeably to his own un- 
derstanding of his duty ; and it is a repugnancy to impose 
on me as a duty, the doing that which singly the other 
person can accomplish. 


A. Owe's Own Perfection. 

The word perfection is open to many an interpreta- 
tion. Thus, when used in ontology, perfection denotes 


tlie TOTALITY of the multifarious, which, taken together, 
do in the aggregate compose one thing. Then, again, when 
used in teleology, it is so understood as to signify the 
tion, taken in the first sense, might be called quantita- 
tive, in the second qualitative {formal). The material 
and quantitative perfection is one only (for the total of the 
parts of any what is one whole) ; but of the formal there 
may be many sorts in the same thing, and it is of this lag t 
jlone that we here treat. 

When it is said that the perfecting of his nature is an 
end which it is man's duty to propose to himself, this per- 
fection must be placed in that which is the effect of his 
own activity, not any gift of nature, upon which account 
this duty can be nothing else than the culture of his na- 
tural faculties, the principal whereof is the understanding, 
as the power of dealing with notions and ideas, among 
others with the ideas of duty ; and then, next, of his will 
to discharge all his duty. 

It is then a duty incumbent upon mankind, — I. To de- 
velope himself more and more from the animal characters 
stamped upon him by his brute nature, and to advance 
and evolve his humanity, which alone renders him capable 
of designing any what as his end. He ought to strip off his 
ignorance, by learning to correct and renounce his errors ; 
and this is not a counsel given him by technically 
PRACTICAL reason, but ethico-active reason ordains it 
unconditionally, in order that he may be worthy of the 
humanity he represents. 

II. To clarify, and to carry the culture of his will to 
the purest grade of ethic sentiment, a state and tone of 
soul where the law itself is the immediate mobile of the 



will, and where duty is discharged because it is so. And 
THIS STATE AND TONE OF SOUL is an in Ward ethical per- 
fection, and is ca lled the moral sense, because it is a feel- 
mg of t he effect wro ught by legi slative reas on upon man's 
Wti vepower of conforming to the law ^ And although 
this feeling has been too often fanatically abused, as if it 
were a peculiar emo tion a.stir in the min d antecedently to 
reason, and able (like the genius of Socrates) to dispense 
with her tardy determinations, it is notwithstanding an 
ethical accomplishment, enabling mankind to make 
every end his own, when that end is also his duty. 

B. My Neighbour's Happiness. 

Happiness, i. e. contentment and satisfaction with one's 
external lot, in so far as its permanence is secured, is the 
inevitable desire and wish of every human nature ; but it 
is not upon that account an end affording the groundwork 
of any duty. Again, since a distinction has been made 
by some, betwixt what they term physical and moral hap- 
piness, whereof the former is stated to consist in man's 
enjoyment and acquiescence in the goods and bounties 
bestowed on him, in free gift, by nature, but the latter in 
his own self-contentment and acquiescence in his own 
ethical deportment, it is needful for me to remark (omit- 
ting all censure of the misuse of such terms, which inclose 
a contradiction) that the latter kind of state belongs to the 
other head, that of perfection ; for he who is to be happy 
in the bare consciousness of his honesty, possesses that 
very perfection treated of in the former title, as that end 
which it was man's duty to puisue. 

That happiness, then, which it is my end and my duty 


to further, can be the happiness of another singly, 


What others may deem most conducive to their interests 
and happiness, rests upon their determination ; it stands, 
however, always at my option to decline the pursuit of 
ends, others would willingly obtain, if I hold them hurtful 
and pernicious. But to resist or evade this virtuous office 
of beneficence, by alleging a pretended obligation incum- 
bent on me to study my own physical happiness, is in 
plain fact just to convert my private and subjective end 
into an objective one ; and yet such pretended obligation 
has repeatedly been urged as an objection to the forego- 
ing division of duties (No. IV.) : the objection is merely 
plausible and apparent, and the following remark may 
serve to clear the matter up. 

Grief, poverty, want, and pain, are unquestionably 
mighty temptations to the transgression of one's duty ; and 
hence it seems as if wealth, strength, health, which keep 
out the inroad of the first, were ends incumbent on man-> 
kind to pursue, i. e, it looks very like as if it were his 
duty to advance and study his own interests as much as 
those of others. But what is overlooked, is this, that in 
such event a man's general welfare is not the end aimed 
at, but is no more than a means allowed as instrumental 
towards remo\ang the obstacles which might stand in the 
way of the person's own morality; and this last it is^ 
which is the true and real end of his exertions, and must 
needs be permitted, no one having a right to demand that 
I should sacrifice for him, my proper end. To acquire 
wealth is thence directly and in itself no duty ; but indi- 
rectly it may become so, viz. in order to guard against 
poverty, and that wretchedness which might come accom- 


panied by vice. But then it is not my happiness, but my 
morality, which, to uphold in its integrity, is at once my 
end and my duty. 


jurisprudence), but FOR THE INWARD MAXIMS SINGLY 

The notion duty relates immediately to law, even when 
I abstract from every end which might become the matter 
of it. This, indeed, was indicated by the supreme formal 
principle of ethics expressed in the categorical imperative, 
*' So act that the maxim of thy conduct might be announ- 
ced as law universal." But in this part of ethics, this for- 
mula denotes the law of thy own special individual will, 
not the law emanating from will in genere ; in which 
latter case there would be room for the will of some other 
person, and the duty resulting from it would be a juridical 
obligation, and so fall beyond the domain of morals. In 
this part of ethics the maxims are regarded as such sub- 
jective principles as are not unfit to be elevated to the 
rank of law in a system of universal moral legislation ; 
but this gives them only a negative character,* viz. not to 
be repugnant to law in genere. The question, therefore, 
is, how can there be a law ordaining positive maxims of 
conduct ? 

The notion of an end in itself a duty — peculiar to this 

• Duty is a negative conception only, i. e. it expresses that the will is 
limited to the condition of not being repugnant to a potential legislation 
universal ; but since no will can be devoid of ends, the assigning of an 
end a priori, upon grounds of practical reason, is the ordaining of a max- 
im to act towards such end. T. 


branch of ethics — is what founds a law commanding max- 
ims of conduct, by subordinating the ends which all man- 
kind have to the objective ends which all mankind ought 
to have. The imperative, thou shalt make to thyself, this 
or that, thy end, points to the matter (the object) of choice : 
and since no free action is possible, where the agent does 
not design by it some end as the object chosen, a maxim 
tending to such end need only be fit for law universal ; 
whereas, if that end be in itself a duty, such end-duty 
would found a law ordaining me to adopt the maxim ta- 
ken from and belonging to it. For man's practical max- 
ims may be adopted arbitrarily, and it is always in his 
option to execute them or not, they being no otherwise 
fettered than by standing under the restrictive condition 
of being fit for law universal, this being the formal prin- 
ciple regulating the whole conduct of life. But a law 
takes away the whole optional part of action, and so dif- 
fers widely from all expediential dictates, which counsel 
what means conduce best to certain ends. 



This position is a corollary from the foregoing (No. VI.) ; 
for where the law ordains not the action, but its maxim 
only, that implies that it leaves to free choice a latitude 
in the execution of it, that is to say, that the law does not 
rigidly determine, how much ought to be done toward 
the end which is our duty, but an indeterminate obliga- 
tion must not be so understood as if it left a space open 


for exceptions from the maxim itself; it means only our 
title to limit one rule of duty by another (e. g. to limit the 
general social duty by the fraternal or filial), which vir- 
tually enlarges the field for the practical exercise of vir- 
tue. The more an obligation is extensive, the more in- 
determinate is the person's obligement to act ; neverthe- 
less, the more he narrows the maxim of its observance, 
so as to make it approach to the nature of a strict and 
forensic obligation, the more complete is the virtue of his 

Duties of indeterminate obligation are therefore the 
only offices of virtue. To discharge them is merit = 
+ a ; their transgression is not straightway guilt = 
— fl, but simply moral un worth = 0. Unless, indeed, 
the person omitted upon system the observance of these 
duties. Stedfastness of purpose in carrying the first of 
these into action, is what is properly styled virtue. Weak- 
ness in the second is not so much vice, as rather non- 
virtue, t. e. want of moral strength (defectus moralis). 
Every action repugnant to duty is transgression ; but 
deliberate transgression, done upon system, is that only 
-which properly is to be termed vice. 

Although the conformity of a man's actions to the law 
is nothing meritorious, yet to observe one's juridical obliga- 
tions as duties is ; i. e. reverence for the rights of man- 
kind is meritorious, for hereby a person makes the 
rights of man his end, and so extends his notion of obli- 
gation beyond that of mere debt (officium debiti). Another 
may, in consequence of his rights, demand from me ac- 
tions tallying with the law, but he cannot likewise insist 
that the representation of the law should itself be the 


ground determining my will to action. A similar remark 
holds good of that more general ethic precept, Act duteotis- 
ly out of regard had to duty. To engrave such a sentiment 
deep in one's heart, and often to revivify its impression, is 
MERITORIOUS, for it goes beyond the mere act incumbent 
to be done, and makes the law itself the spring of con- 

Upon the same account, those duties must be reckoned 
as of indeterminate obligation, which are observed to be 
attended by an inward ethical reward ; or rather, to 
bring the parallel yet nearer to the case of forensic obliga- 
tions, — followed by a susceptibility for such rewards ac- 
cording to the moral law : viz. a susceptibility for an ethi- 
cal complacency, surpassing the mere simple self-appro- 
bation (which is only negative) consequent on the fulfil- 
ment of the law; and this complacency it is, which is 
meant, when it is said that virtue is by such a conscious- 
ness her own reward. 

This merit, which a man may have in regard of his kind, 
by advancing their common and known ends, and so 
making their happiness constitute his^ may be called a 
SWEET MERIT, and the consciousness of it brings forth an 
ethical delight, at which ecstatic banquet others may 
even sympathetically feast. Whereas the bitter merit of 
advancing the true weal of the ignorant and unthankful, 
has in general no such re-action, and brings forth no 
more than self-approbation, although this last is in such 
a case likely to be more pure and more exalted. 



1. My otvn Perfection, as End and Duty. 

A. Physical perfection, i. e. culture of all our faculties in 
general, in order to attain the ends objected to us by rea- 
son. That this is our duty, and an end of our being, 
and that this culture rises on an unconditionate imperative, 
independently of any advantages to which such culture 
may perhaps conduce, may appear from what follows. 
The ability to propose to one's self an end, is the charac- 
teristic of humanity, and distinguishes it from his brute 
nature. Along with the ends of the humanity subsisting 
in our person, goes hand in hand the rational will, and 
together with that, the obligation to make one's self well- 
deserving of mankind by general culture, in carrying to 
higher and higher degrees of perfection the powers in- 
trusted to him, i. e. to develope the latent energies dor- 
mant in the unhewn substratum of his nature, whereby 
the brute animal is first of all changed and transformed 
into the man ; all which is in itself an imperative duty. 

But this duty is simply moral, i. e. of indeterminate ob- 
ligation : how far any one ought to carry the improvement 
and the progression of his faculties, is left undetermined 
by reason. Besides, the difference of occasions and cir- 
cumstances one may come into, renders quite arbitrary 
the choice of the kind of calling to which he will de- 
vote his talent; so that there can be no commandment 
of reason ordaining given actions, but ordaining only a 
maxim regulative of conduct; the tenor of which prin- 


ciple may be thus conceived : " Evolve betimes thy cor- 
poreal and mental faculties, that thou mayest be fitted for 
any kind of ends, it being uncertain which of them may 
come one day to be adopted by thee." 

B, Ethical perfection. The highest grade of ethical 
perfection possible to be attained by man, is to discharge 
his duty because it is so ; where the law is at once the 
rule and the mobile of the will. Now, at first sight, it 
seems as if this were a strict obligation, and that the su- 
preme principle of duty called, not only for the legality, 
but likewise for the morality of every act, and that it 
must do so with the whole rigour and severity of law. 
But, in fact, the law concerns itself only with the maxims 
of conduct, and ordains man to seek the ground of his prac- 
tical maxims in the law itself, not in any sensitive in- 
stiiict or by-views and ends of prejudice and advantage. 
No individual act, then, is specially ordained. Besides, 
it is impossible for any one so to behold or fathom the 
abysses of his heart, as to become fully convinced of the 
purity of his moral intentions, and of his sincerity, even 
in one single act, however clear he may be as to its lega- 
lity. Imbecility, oftener than any other cause, deters a 
man from the hardihood of crime, and so passes with him 
for VIRTUE, which, however, implies a certain grade of 
-^ strength. > And how many may there be who have long 
lived lives blameless and unrebukeable, who are, after all, 
only lucky in having escaped temptation ? How much 
ethical content may belong to any action, cannot be ex- 
plored even by themselves. 

We infer, then, that the duty of estimating the worth 
of one's actions, not legally simply, but likewise according 
to their morality, is one of indeterminate obligation; 


that, in other words, the law does not ordain any such 
inward mental act, but merely that it ought to be our 
maxim, to endeavour, by unremitted assiduity, to make 
the consciousness of duty sufficient by itself to stir the 
will to action. 

2. My Neighhcmr's Happiness^ as End and Dvtj/. 

A. Physical well-being. General benevolence may be 
unlimited, for in all this nothing need be done ; but the 
case is different when we come to beneficence, more espe- 
cially when actions have to be performed, not out of love 
to others, but out of duty, with the mortification and sa- 
crifice of our own ends. That this beneficence is duty, re- 
sults from this, \st, That, because our self-love goes in- 
separably linked hand in hand with the appetite to be 
loved by others, and, in case of need, to be assisted by 
them ; a state of things in which we make ourselves the 
end of others: and, 2d, That since a maxim of this kind 
can only have ethical virtue to oblige the will of others, 
when it is potentially fitted for law universal, it follows, 
that we must state others as the ends of our will, in adopt- 
ing our maxims of practical conduct ; i. e. the happiness 
of others is an end incumbent on us as a duty. 

It is my duty, then, to yield a part of my well-being, 
in sacrifice for others, without hoping any indemnity, be- 
cause it is my duty; and it is impossible to assign definite 
boundaries, whither and how far this duty shall extend. 
Its extent will always rest on the peculiar wants of each, 
and these wants and needs each particular must deter- 
mine for himself. Nor can it, in any event, be expected 


that I should abandon my own real happiness and proper 
needs, in order to study that of another ; for a maxim 
containing such a rule would be found repugnant to it- 
self, if elevated to the rank of law universal. This duty, 
then, is indeterminate only, and there is a latitude of 
doing more or less towards discharging it. The law em- 
braces the maxim singly, — it cannot be extended to spe- 
cial actions. 

B. The moral welfare of our neighbour, is no doubt 
an integral part of his general felicity (prosperity), and 
it is incumbent on us to promote it ; but this obligation 
begets a negative duty only. The compunction a man feels 
from the stings of conscience, is, although of ethical ori- 
ginal, yet physical in its results, just like grief, fear, and 
every other sickly habitude of mind. To take heed, that 
no one fall under his own contempt, cannot indeed be my 
duty, for that exclusively is his concern. However, I 
ought to do nothing which I know may, from the consti- 
tution of our nature, become a temptation, seducing others 
to deeds, conscience may afterwards condemn them for. 
There are, however, no limits assignable, within which 
our care of the moral tranquillity of our neighbour is to 
range; the obligation consequently is indeterminate. 


Virtue is the strength of the human will in the execu- 
tion of duty. All strength is ascertained singly by the 
obstacles it is able to overcome. Virtue has to combat 
against the physical instincts of our system, when these 
thwart and collide with man's ethical resolves. And be- 


cause it is the person himself who lays these impediments 
in the way of his own maxims, virtue is not only a self- 
co-action (for then one physical instinct might wage war 
upon another), but a command conducted upon a principle 
of inward freedom ; that is, a self-co-action, by force of 
the naked idea duty, and the law. 

Every duty, of whatever kind, involves the notion of 
necessitation by law ; and the moral, that necessitation 
which an inward legislation can alone effect ; but the ju- 
ridical, one possible also by an external and foreign legis- 
lation. Either kind imports the notion of a co-active 
power, and this co-action may be proper or foreign. The 
ethical force of the former is virtue ; and the action rising 
upon such a sentiment (reverence for law) may be fitly 
termed an act of virtue, even although the law should an- 
nounce a juridical duty only; for morals alone teach to 
keep inviolate the rights of mankind. 

But that, the practice whereof, is virtue, is not upon 
that account one of the offices of virtue — in the proper 
sense of the words — the first referring to the formal of the 
maxims, the second to their matter — that is, to an end 
which is cogitated as duty. But because the ethical oblige- 
ment to ends, whereof there may be several, is indefi- 
nite,— the law ordaining a rule of deportment only, — 
it results that there may be (differing with the nature of 
the legitimate ends they tend to) several different duties, 
which may all be called duties in morality, or offices of 
virtue, because they are subjected to voluntary self-co-ac- 
tion only, are unsusceptible of coercive measures from 
without, and spring from ends which are in themselves 


Virtue, considered as the will's unshaken constancy in 


adhering to tlie decrees of duty, can, like every formal, 
be only one, identic, and always the same with itself; but 
in respect of the incumbent ends of action, i. e. the ma- 
terials man has to work upon, there may be several vir- 
tues ; and since the obligement to adopt maxims or rules 
of life, resting on such materials, was called a moral duty, 
or virtuous office, it follows that the offices of virtue may 
be several and distinct. 

The supreme principle of this division of ethics there- 
fore is, " Adopt such ends in thy maxims as may he made 
imperative on all mankind to design." By force of this 
principle, each man is stated as his own and every other's 
end; and it is now not enough to abstain from employing 
them or himself as means to his own end, — a ease which 
would leave him quite indifferent to his fellows, — but he 
is beholden to make all mankind his end. 

This position in morals admits, being a categorical im- 
perative, of no proof; but some account may be given of 
it, i. e. a deduction from the nature of pure practical rea- 
son itself. What thing soever stands so related to huma- 
nity, one's self or others, as possibly to be an end, must 
be declared an end, reason being judge; for pi-actical rea- 
son is the power of designing ends, and to assert that rea- 
son were indifferent in regard of any such, i. e. to main- 
tain that reason took no interest in them, is an absurdity ; 
for then reason would miss of her function in determin- 
ing the maxims and rules of life, which maxims rest al- 
ways on an end ; that is, in other words, would be no 
practical reason at all. But when pure reason announces 
any end a priori^ it announces at the same time that end 
as a duty incumbent on all mankind ; and this is the kind 
of duty termed a virtuous office or moral duty. 




It was evinced in law, that the outward co-active power, 
so far forth as it withstands whatever would let and hinder 
the mutual freedom of the subject, could be made consist- 
ent with ends in general ; and that this position holds 
good, results from the principle of contradiction. I need 
not quit the idea freedom, but need only to evolve the 
principle analytically out of it, while the end each per- 
son may propose to himself may be what it will ; so then 
the supreme principle of law was analytical. 

On the contrary, the principle of morals goes out of 
and beyond the notion of external freedom, and conjoins 
with it, conformably to law universal, an end which it 
constitutes a duty ; and this principle is synthetic : the 
possibility of the synthesis of the notions contained in it is 
explored in the deduction at the close of No. IX. 

This extension of the notion duty beyond that of out- 
ward liberty, and the limiting of this last to the bare for- 
mal condition of constantly harmonizing with every other 
person's freedom, depends upon the fact, that here ends 
are drawn into consideration from which law altogether 
abstracts, and inward freedom put in room of outward 
co-action : and the power of self-command not by force 
of other instincts, but by force of pure practical reason, 
which disdains all such intermediaries. 

To constitute the juridical imperative ; the law, the 
power to execute it, and the will regulating the maxims, 
were the elements required. But whoso prescribes to 
himself a moral duty, has, over and above the notion of his 


self-co-action, the farther notion of an end, not which he 
already has, but which he ought to have ; which end, there- 
fore, goes hand in hand with practical reason, whose last, 
chief, and unconditioned end (which, however, never ceases 
to be duty) consists in this : that virtue is its own end, and 
is, by its own good-desert, its own reward. By all which, 
virtue so shines, that it seems even to eclipse the lustre 
of holiness itself, which cannot so much as be solicited to 
swerve from the law. This, however, is a deception, and 
arises in this manner, that, owing to our having no stan- 
dard whereby to measure the grade of a strength except 
the magnitude of the obstacles (in us the appetites and 
instincts of the sensory) it has been able to subdue and 
overcome, we are led into the mistake of holding the sub- 
jective conditions, whereby we estimate a force, tanta- 
mount to the objective grounds of the force itself. But 
when virtue is compared with other human ends, each of 
which may have its own several obstacles to overcome, it 
is quite true that the inward worth of virtue, as its own 
end, far outweighs the value of all utilitarian and experi- 
mental ends, which last may notwithstanding go hand-in- 
hand with it. 

It is quite a correct expression to say, that man is un- 
der an obligement to virtue, as ethic strength; for although 
the power of mastering every opposing excitement of the 
sensory may, and indeed must, be absolutely postulated 
— the will's causality being free — nevertheless this power 
is in its strength (robur) a matter of acquisition, viz. 
where the force of the ethical spring has been advanced 
by the contemplation of the dignity of our pure rational 
law, and at the same time by unremittingly carrying its 
decrees into execution. 


XI, — A table of all moral duties may, agreeably to 
what]^has been just advanced, be drawn out in the follow- 
ing manner : — 

The matter of moral duty. 



I. II. 

My own end, which is Other's ends, to advance 

likewise my duty. which, is my duty. 

(The perfecting of my (My neighbour's happi- 

nature.) ness.) 


The law, which is likewise The end, which is the de- 
the mobile of action. terminator of the will 

to act. 
Whereon depends all the Whereon depends all the 
morality legality 

Of all free determination of will. 

The formal of duty. 



There are such ethical predispositions, that where a 
man has them not, neither can he be obliged to acquire 
them. These are, (1), the moral sense; (2), conscience; 
(3), love of our neighbour ; and (4), reverence for one's 
self. There can exist no obligation to endeavour to ac- 
quire these, because they are subjective conditions of 
man's susceptibility for ethical conceptions, not objective 
grounds of morality. They are every one of them aesthe- 


tical, and given antecedently in the mind, as natural pre- 
dispositions, fitting man for becoming a partaker of ethic 
notions, — predispositions given and subsisting in the sub- 
stratum of his person, which therefore cannot be said to 
be any one's duty to acquire : for it is first of all by these 
that he is rendered the subject of ethical obligement. 
Man's consciousness of them is not originated by expe- 
rience and observation, but they must be deemed the 
effects of the moral law itself, upon the mind. 

A. The moral sense. This feeling is the susceptibility 
for pleasure or displacency, upon the bare consciousness 
of the harmony or of the discrepancy of our actions with 
the law. All determination of choice whatsoever begins 
with the representation of the intended act, and passes 
through the feeling of pleasure or pain, by taking an in- 
terest in the act, or its ulterior end, and so becomes event ; 
and this internal determination of the sensory (liking or 
disliking) is either a pathognomic or an ethical emotion : 
the former is that sensation of pleasure which may exist 
antecedently to the representation of the law ; the latter 
is that complacency, brought forth by its representation, 
and which can only follow after it. 

Now there can be no duty either to have or to acquire 
any such feeling ; for all consciousness of obligation pre- 
supposes it, and, apart from it, no man could feel the ne- 
cessitation accompanying the idea duty ; and every one 
must, as a moral being, have such originarily within him : 
an obligement in regard to it can only ordain, that this 
sensible effect of the law be cultivated and invigorated by 
the admiration of its unknown and inscrutable original, 
which can be effected by showing that this emotion, 
when defecated from all admixture of pathognomic at- 


tractions, is then most enlivened by the naked energies of 

No man is destitute of this feeling ; and were he de- 
prived of all capacity for being thus affected, he would be 
ethically dead; and when, to speak in medical language, 
his moral vitality could no longer stimulate this feeling, 
then would his humanity be decomposed, and resolved 
into his animality, and he could not be distinguished from 
the common herd of brute natures. We have no specific 
and individual sense of moral good and evil, any more 
than we have a sense of truth, although such expressions 
are not unfrequently employed ; but we have an original 
susceptibility for having our free choice impelled by pure 
practical reason and her law ; and this it is which is 
termed the moral feeling. 

B. Of conscience. Conscience is original, and no ad- 
ditamentum to our person ; and there can be no duty to 
procure one ; but every man has, as a moral being, a con- 
science. To be obliged to have a conscience, would be 
tantamount to saying, man stands under the obligation of 
acknowledging that he is obliged. Conscience is man's 
practical reason, which does, in all circumstances, hold 
before him his law of duty, in order to absolve or to con- 
demn him. It has accordingly no objective import ; and 
refers only to the subject, affecting his moral sense by its 
own intrinsic action. The phenomenon of conscience is 
accordingly an inevitable event, and no obligement or 
duty ; and when it is said in common parlance, that such 
an one has no conscience, that means merely that he dis- 
regards its dictates ; for had he none in real fact, then he 
could impute to himself no action, as either conform or 


repugnant to the law, and so would be unable even to co- 
gitate to himself the duty of having conscience. 

Omitting all the various divisions of conscience, I re- 
mark merely, that an erring conscience is a chimera ; for 
although, in the objective judgment, whether or not any 
thing be a duty, mankind may very easily go wrong, — 
yet, subjectively, whether I have compared an action 
with my practical (here judiciary) reason, for the behoof 
of such objective judgment, does not admit of any mis- 
take ; and if there were any, then would no practical judg- 
ment have been pronounced — a case excluding alike the 
possibility of error or of truth. He who knows within 
himself, that he has conducted himself agreeably to his 
conscience, has done all that can be demanded of him, 
relatively to guilt or innocence. His obligement can ex- 
tend only to the illuminating his understanding, as to 
what things are duty, what not. But when it comes to 
the act, or when a man has acted, conscience speaks in- 
evitably. We cannot, for these reasons, say that man 
ought to obey his conscience ; a case where he would re- 
quire a supplemental conscience to control, and take cog- 
nizance of the acts of the first. 

The only duty there is here room for, is to cultivate 
one's conscience, and to quicken the attention due to the 
voice of a man's inward monitor, and to strain every ex- 
ertion {i. e. indirectly a duty) to procure obedience to 
what he says. 

C. Love of our neighbour. Love is an affair of senti- 
ment, not of will ; and I cannot love when I will, and 
%i\\\ \qs,b when I ought. A duty to love is therefore chi- 
merical. Benevolence, however, considered as practical, 
may very well stand under a law of duty. Sometimes 


disinterested wishes for the good of our neighbour is 
called love ; but this is improper. Sometimes even 
when the welfare of the other person is not concern- 
ed, but when we devotedly surrender all our ends to the 
ends of another (superhuman even), love is talked of, 
and said to be our duty; but all duty is necessitation, 
i. e. co-action, even where it is self-co-action, conform- 
ably to a law ; but whatsoever is done by constraint and 
co-action, that is not performed out of love. 

Acting beneficently to our fellows, according to our 
ability, is our duty, and that, too, whether we love them 
or not ; and this duty loses nothing of its importance, even 
although we are forced to make the sad remark that our 
species is but little amiable when we come to know them 
better. Misanthropy is, however, at all times hateful, 
even when, shunning hostile actions, it merely induces 
the man-hater to isolate and separate himself from com- 
merce with his kind. Beneficence is at all times incum- 
bent upon us as a duty, even toward a misanthrope, whom 
we cannot assuredly love, but towards whom we can deal 

To hate the vices of other people is neither our duty 
nor the reverse, but simply the feeling of detestation for 
them ; a sentiment unrelated, and standing in no connec- 
tion to the will, and vice versa. Beneficence is a duty : 
he who is often engaged in the discharge of this duty, and 
beholds the success of his beneficent designs, comes in the 
end to love him whom he has benefited. When, there- 
fore, it is said, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, 
that is not to be understood, thou shalt first love thy 
neighbour, and then by means of this love, act kindly to- 
wards him; but, contrariwise, do good to thy fellow men, 


and this beneficence will work in thee philanthropy, i. e. 
a liabitude or inclination to be beneficent. 

Benevolent love is upon these accounts only indirectly 
a duty ; but the love of complacency would be immediate 
and direct. To be constrained by duty to this is, however, 
a contradiction ; for the pleasure of complacency is imme- 
diately attached to the perception of the existence of the 
beloved object ; and to be obliged to be necessitated to 
this, is absurd. 

D. Of reverence. In like manner, reverence is some- 
what altogether subjective, an emotion of its own kind, — 
no judgment referring to any object, which might make it 
incumbent on us to produce and establisli this emotion : for 
were this the case, such a duty could be represented only by 
the reverence felt towards it ; and to say that it is our duty 
to have this reverence, would be tantamount to say, we 
were beholden to an obligation. So that when it is said 
man ought to reverence himself, that is improperly said, 
and it should rather be thus couched. The law within him 
inevitably extorts reverence from him for his own being, 
and this peculiar and unique emotion, which is of its own 
kind, is the ground of certain duties, i. e. certain actions 
comporting with the duty owed by man to himself. But 
it is ill expressed to say, we have a duty of reverencing 
ourselves ; for mankind must first of all revere the law 
before he can so much as cogitate any thing as his duty. 




I. First. A single duty can rise upon one only ground 
of obligation ; and when two or several arguments are ad- 
duced to support it, that indicates for certain, either that 
as yet no valid reason has been assigned, or else that they 
are several and distinct duties, which, by mistake, have 
come to be regarded as one. 

For since every ethic argumentation is philosophical, it 
is a rational knowledge rising out of notions, and not, as 
the mathematics are, raised upon the construction of no- 
tions. These last admit of several different demonstrations, 
because, in an a priori intuition, there may be given se- 
veral determinations of the nature of an object, the whole of 
which carry the cogitation backwards to one and the same 
common ground. Put the case, that we wish to prove 
that veracity is a duty, and argue first from the detriment 
inflicted on others by the lie, and then support this argu- 
ment by urging the internal vileness of the liar, and the 
violation of his own self-reverence, — and it is observable, 
that the first argument proves a duty of benevolence, not 
one of veracity, i. e. is no proof at all of the virtue desi- 
derated. To flatter one's self, that, by adducing several bad 
arguments in support of one position, their number may 
make up what is wanting in their cogency, is a most un- 
philosophic stratagem, and betrays at once guile and dis- 
honesty : — because a series of insufficient reasons, aggre- 
gated together, cannot eke out the certainty which each 
wants ; nay, they do not even beget a probability amongst 


them,— and yet this is the common artifice of the rheto- 

II. Secondly. The difference obtaining betwixt virtue 
and vice, cannot be stated to consist in the grade of ad- 
hering to given maxims and rules of life ; but must be 
sought for in their specific qualities, i. e. in their relation 
to the law : that is, in other words, the lauded principle 
of Aristotle is false, " Virtue is the mean betwixt ex- 
tremes." For instance, let frugality be taken as a mean 
betwixt the two vices, prodigality and avarice, and it is 
clear that its origin as a virtue cannot be explained by 
gradually decreasing and abating the first of these vices ; 
neither can it by gradually enlarging the expenses of the 
miser, these vices being incapable of being so taken, as if 
they came from diametrically opposite directions, and met 
in the point of frugality ; but each vice has its own pro- 
per maxim, and these have qualities making them incon- 
sistent with one another. Upon the same account, no 
vice can, generally speaking, be explained by saying that 
it is a practice carried to excess ; as when it is said. Prodi- 
gality is excess in the consumption of wealth : nor yet, that 
it is a defect, or falling short in practice. Avarice is the 
failing to expend one's wealth. For since the grade is here 
left undetermined, and yet every thing is made to depend 
on this degree, whether conduct fall in with duty or 
otherwise, it is plain that such explanations can serve no 

III. Thirdly. Duties are to be judged of, not by the 
power man attributes to himself, of being able to fulfil 
them ; but, contrariwise, his power is to be concluded upon 
from the law, which commands categorically ; that is, we 
go, not by the experimental acquaintance taught us of 


mankind by observation, but by tlie intellectual appreben- 
sion we have of what we ought to be, as conformed to the 
idea of humanity. These three positions towards a scien- 
tific treatise on morals, are pointed against these old 

I. There is one only virtue, and one only vice. 

II. Virtue is the keeping of the due mean betwixt ex- 

III. Virtue must, like prudence, be taught us by expe- 
rience and observation. 


Virtue signifies ethic strength of will ; but this does not 
exhaust the whole notion of it : for a like strength may be- 
long to a holy (superhuman) being, in whom no instinct 
re-acts against the law, and who, therefore, executes 
the whole law willingly. Virtue is therefore the ethic 
strength of man in the fulfilment of his duty, a strength 
which is an ethical co-action, by force of one's own legis- 
lative reason, so far forth as this last constitutes itself also 
at the same time the executive of the law. This ethico- 
active reason is not itself a duty, nor is it incumbent on 
us to procure it ; but it announces its behest, and makes 
this commandment go hand in hand with an ethical co- 
action, possible according to laws of inward freedom ; but 
because this co-action has to be irresistible, strength is in- 
dispensable, and the grade of this force can only be esti- 
mated by the magnitude of the obstacles springing from 
the person's own appetites and instincts, and to which 
reason has to rise superior. Vice, the offspring of illicit 



passion, is the Hydra, man has to encounter and to over- 
come ; upon which account this ethic strength, as valour 
{fortitudo moralis), constitutes the highest, and indeed the 
only martial glory of the brave ; and this it is which has 
been rightly styled wisdom, because this wisdom makes 
her own the ends of man's existence here below, and by 
possessing this alone, is any one rendered 

Liber, pulcher, honoratus, Rex denique Regum, 

and enabled to stand invincible against all assaults of 
chance or fate ; because man cannot be shaken from his 
own self-possession, nor can the virtuous be stormed out 
of the inexpugnable fortress of his own virtue. 

The encomiums passed upon the Ideal of Humanity in 
his ethical perfection, are not in anywise invalidated by 
showing how contrary mankind are, have been, and very 
likely will be ; nor can anthropology, which gives but 
a tentative and experimental knowledge of man, at all 
affect or impair that anthroponomy which is reared upon 
our unconditionately legislative reason ; and although vir* 
tue may from time to time be well-deserving of our fel* 
low-men {never in respect of the law), and may merit a re- 
ward, yet it ought to be considered, as it is its own end, 
so also to be in itself its own reward. 

Virtue represented in its entire perfection, is to be re* 
garded as if it held possession of man, and not as if hd 
had appropriated or were the proprietor of it ; in which last 
case, it would seem as if man had the option to accept or 
to decline her, and so would need an anterior virtue to in- 
duce him to make his election of the latter. To acknow- 
ledge several virtues, as we inevitably must, is merely to 
cogitate different moral objects, towards which the will \^ 



guided and led by the one and single principle of virtue ; 
and the same remark holds of the contrary vices. Ex- 
pressions which impersonate the one or other of them are 
aesthetic engines, which typify a moral import. An es- 
thetic OF ETHICS is, by consequence, no part, but it is 
a subjective exposition, of the metaphysic of ethics ; and 
such a Critique of moral taste would make sensible in out- 
ward delineation, those emotions effected by the co-active 
force of the law upon the sensory. Horror, disgust, &c. &c. 
depict in lively and vivid colours the ethical antagonism 
of the will, and would aid in counteracting the false al- 
lurements of sensitive excitement. 



This separation, obtaining betwixt the two main branches 
of ethics, is grounded on this, that the idea freedom, com- 
mon to both these, renders necessary a distinction of du- 
ties into the offices of outward, and those of inward liber- 
ty, whereof the latter are alone moral. Whence it results 
that we must now state some preparatory remarks on in- 
ward freedom as the condition precedent of all moral duty, 
exactly as we previously, in No. XII. held a preliminary 
discourse on conscience as the condition precedent of all 
obligement whatsoever. 


Readiness or aptitude is a facility in acting in a parti- 
cular way, and is a subjective perfection of choice ; but 


every readiness of this sort, is not necessarily a free or 11* 
beral facility ; for when it degenerates into habit, i. e. 
when the uniformity of custom slides into mechanical ne- 
cessity, by the too frequent iteration of an act, such inve- 
terate aptitude is no product of freedom, and is by conse- 
quence no ethical facility ; and this is the reason why vir- 
tue, as we have said, cannot be defined to be a readiness 
or facility in acting conformably to the law ; although 
it might be so defined, were we to add, that it was an ap- 
titude of determining one's self so to act by the represen- 
tation of the law; for then the habitude would cease to 
be a quality of choice, and would become one of will, 
which is a function of desire, announcing law universal, 
by the maxims of conduct it adopts : and such a readiness 
alone, can be deemed and taken for a part of a virtue. 

This inward freedom demands two things : the first, 
that mankind, in any unforeseen emergency, remain mas- 
ter of himself; and, second, that he suffer not the empire 
of his own reason to be usurped by his appetites and pas- 
sions. The state and tone of soul is, by such inward free- 
dom, noble and erect ; by the contrary, abject, servile. 


Emotion and passion differ essentially; the former 
sort are seated in the sensory ; and as these feelings are 
astir in the mind, prior to all thought and reflection, they 
hinder and obstruct the exercise of reason, or even render 
it for the time impossible. The emotions are often called 



transports or tempests of soiil ; and reason promulgates 
to us, by the idea virtue, the law of self-command. How- 
ever, this imbecility in the exercise of reflection, coupled 
with the headlong impetuosity of emotion, is merely non- 
virtue. It is silly and childish, and is not inconsistent 
with a good will, and has this advantage peculiar to such 
a frame of mind, that the storm soon blows over ; — a pro- 
pensity to an emotion, e. g. to wrath, is therefore not 
nearly so much allied to vice as a passion and affection is. 
These last denote permanent states of desire ; e. g. hatred, 
REVENGE, as contradistinguished from Anger and wrath. 
The calm and composure wherewith mankind incline to 
those admit of reflection, forethought, and pi'edetermina- 
tion, and allow the mind to adopt maxims of conduct 
tending to the gratification of those affections, and so, by 
brooding over them, allow the hate to strike deep root; 
by all which, evil is deliberately determined on to be 
done, which, as aggravated wickedness, is a true crime. • 
It results, therefore, that virtue, in so far as it depends 
upon man's inward freedom, addresses to mankind an 
affirmative commandment, ordaining him to bring all his 
feelings and passions under the dominion and govern- 
ment of his reason ; i. e. ordains self-command; and 
this it superadds to the prohibitive commandment the- 
DUTY of apathy, wlicreby it ordains [negatively) man 
not to allow himself to have it lorded over him either by 
his appetites or instincts ; for when reason does not take 
into her own hands the administration of self-government, 
those revolting, subject her to their thraldom. 



. The terra apathy, as if it meant bluntness or want of 
feeling, i. e. listlessness or indifference in regard of the 
objects of choice, has fallen into bad repute. People have 
mistaken it for a weakness ; a misunderstanding which 
may be obviated by denominating this dispassionateness, 
which has no common part with indifference, the ethic 
APATHY, a freedom from passion, which takes place then 
only, when the increasing reverence for the law has so 
awed and ballasted the mind, that it ceases to tumble to 
and fro, and to be agitated by the storms and hurricane 
emotions which threaten to shipwreck its morality. It is 
but the seeming strength of one distempered, to allow one's 
interest, even in what is good, to degenerate into passion. 
An affection of this kind is called enthusiasm, and so gives 
occasion for that just medium which is recommended even 
in the practice of virtue. 

Insani Sapiens nomen ferat, sequus iniqui 

" Ultra quam satis est," virtutem si petat ipsam. — Hor. 

For it were ridiculous to fancy that any one could be- 
too wise, or too virtuous : an emotion is always of the 
sensory, by what object soever it may be excited. The 
true strength of virtue is the mind at tranquillity, esta- 
blished upon a well-pondered and stedfast determination 
to put the law into execution. This is the " health" of 
the ethic life. While, on the contrary, enthusiastic feel- 
ings, even when engendered by the representation of good, 


sparkle, but with momentary lustre, and leave the mind 
chill and exhausted. He again might be called chimeri- 
cally virtuous, who admits, in his system of morality, of no 
indifferent things, and who is beset at every step with 
duties strewed along his path, like spring-guns ; and 
deems it of moment whether he dine on fish or fowl, 
whether he drink beer or wine, although they all agree 
alike well with his constitution. But if the doctrine of 
virtue were to deal with such infinitesimal duties, her em- 
pire would be transmuted to a tyranny. 

Virtue is constantly, progressive, and yet it has always 
to begin again, of new, from the beginning. The first part 
of this position results from this, that morality, considered 
objectively, is an ideal, and unattainable, although it is 
our incumbent duty to press with advancing footstep un- 
remittipgly toward it : the second, that virtue has always 
to start afresh, arises subjectively from its relation to the 
nature of man, a nature ever lying so open to the pertur- 
bations of appetite and instinct, that virtue can, in its com- 
bat with them, never find a truce, but must infallibly, if 
she keep not herself in the van, and on the advance, be 
driven to the rear and forced to retrograde : ethical max- 
ims not being, like the technical, based on habit (which 
last refers to the physical part of voluntary determina- 
tion)— «o much so indeed, that were the exercise of virtue 
to become habit, the agent would thereby undergo the loss 
of freedom ; which, however, is of the very essence of all 
actions performed out of duty. 



The principle of subdividing ought to comprehend,— 

First, As to the formal of duty, all conditions serving 
to distinguish this part of general ethics from the science 
of law, a desideratum attained by the following : 1. That 
no moral duty admits of any outward legislation ; 2. That 
while all duty, of whatever kind, must rest upon the law, 
yet, in morals, the commandment of duty ordains no given 
action, but only maxims and rules of life tending to given 
ends ; 3. which follows from the second. That moral duty 
is of indeterminate, and never of strict, obligation. 

Second, As to its matter, ethic has to be represented, not 
as a system of duties merely, but likewise as the system 
of the ends and scope of practical reason ; where man is 
shown as obliged to cogitate himself and all his fellow- 
men as his ends, which some moralists have talked of as 
duties of self-love, and of the love of our neighbour ; but 
such expression is inaccurate, there being no direct obli- 
gation to " /are" of any sort, although there are to such 
actions as state one's self and others as their ends. 

Thirdly, As for the distinction betwixt the form and the 
matter of morals {i. e. betwixt an action's conformity to 
law, and its conformity to its end), we have to remind 
the reader, that not every ethical obligation is a moral 
duty ; in other words, that reverence for law begets of it- 
self no end which can be represented as a duty, this last 
alone being a moral duty. There is the one onlyethical 
obligement, but several moral duties, there being many 
objects which for us are ends that we are obliged to pro- 
pose to ourselves. There can, however, be but one ethical 


intent, as the inward ground of a man's determination to 
fulfil his duty ; an intention extending even to his juridi- 
cal duties, though these last must not on this account he 
lield or reputed moral duties. Eveiy subdivision of mo- 
rals will, therefore, have respect only to moral duties. The 
knowledge of the ground whereon the law has its ethical 
virtue to oblige the will, is the science of ethics it- 
self, formally considered. 

,- Remark. — But why, it will be asked, have I divided 
morals into an elementary and a methodic part, seeing 
this mode of division has been dispensed with in law ? 
The reason is, because the former treats of duties of inde- 
terminate obligation, the latter of those of strict ; whence 
it happens, that the latter is in its nature rigid and pre- 
cise, and requires, no more than the mathematics, general 
directions (a method) for judging, but shows its method 
to be true, by real fact and event. Morals, on the con- 
trary, on account of the latitude, admissible in its duties 
of indeterminate obligation, conducts inevitably to ques- 
tions, calling upon the judgment to determine what maxim 
ought to be applied in any given case ; and this maxim 
may come attended by its secondary or subordinate max- 
im, of which last we equally demand a principle for ap- 
plying it to different occurring cases. Thus morals falls 
Into a sort of casuistry, law is quite ignorant of. 

Casuistry is then neither a science nor a part of any 
.science; for, were it scientific, it would be dogmatic : 
and it is not so much a method for finding truth, as a mere 
exercise of judgment in searching for it. Cases of casuis- 
try are therefore interwoven, not systematically^ hnifrag- 
mentarily, into morals, and come, in, under the form of 
gcholia, as add^nd^ to tjie system. But when it is no 


exercise of the judgment that engages us, but the exercise 
of reason itself, and that both in the theory and in the 
practice of her duty, then does this last belong appropri- 
ately to ethics, being the methodology of pure practical 
reason^ Its methodic, in the first sort of exercise, viz. in 
the theory of its duty, is called didactics ; and this last is 
either akroamatic or erotematic. The erotetic method is 
the art of interrogating out of the pupil, the notions of 
duty he already is possessed of, and these his notions may 
be extracted by the question, either out of his memory or 
out of his reason : from his memory, when he has been 
previously taught how to answer, where the method is 
catechetic : from his reason, when it is fancied that what 
is asked him, lies, although latent, in his mind, and needs 
only to be developed ; and this is the diaIjOQIC or S0CRA7 
TIC method. 

To the didactics, as the method of theoretic exercise, 
corresponds, as antipart, the ascetic exercise, which is that 
part of the methodology, where it is taught not only how 
the notion virtue, but likewise how man's active and moral 
powers, his will, may be gymnasticised by the ascetic exer- 
cise, and cultivated. 

Agreeably to these principles, we shall divide the whole 
system into twd parts, the elementology and the metho- 
dology of ethics. Each part will have its chapters and 
divisions. In the former part, the order of the chapters 
will be regulated upon the diversity of the persons toward 
whom obligations may be constituted ; in the second, upon 
the different ends reason ordains man to have, and accord- 
ing to his capacity for these ends. 

XIX. The division established by practical reason to- 
ward an architectonic of the system of her ethical con- 


ceptions, may be regulated upon a twofold principle, either 
conjoined or separate ; the one represents, materially, the 
subjective relation obtaining betwixt the obliged and the 
obligers ; the other, formally, the objective relation obtain- 
ing betwixt ethic laws and the offices they enjoin. The 
first division proceeds upon that of the different living be- 
ings in relation to whom ethical obligement maybe thought 
as subsisting ; but the last would be the order of the con- 
ceptions of pure ethico-active reason, which conceptions 
correspond to each duty made imperative by reason, and 
belong to ethics regarded barely as a science, and are 
therefore indispensable for the methodical contexture and 
arrangement of those propositions which the former divi- 
sion may throw into our hands. 

The former division of morals, agreeably to difference of the 
persons, contains 


, ^ , 

Of man to mankind. Of man towards beings of another kind. 

r » f 1 

To himself. To others. Towards beings infe- Towards superhu- 

rior to man. man beings. 

The latter division of ethics, according to principles of a sys- 
tem of pure practical reason. 

Elementology. Methodology. 


Dogmatics. Casuistics. Didactics. Ascetics. 

which second division exhibits the form of the science, and 
must, as its ground-plan, go before the other. 


,f ;-<> 




§ 1. The Notion of a Duty owed by Mankind to Himself ap- 
pears at first sight to involve a contradiction. 

When the obligating " /" is taken in exactly the same 
sense with the " /" obliged, then undoubtedly duty owed 
to myself imports an absurdity. For the idea duty brings 
along with it the notion of passive necessitation (I am 
obliged or beholden) ; whereas in a matter of debt owed to 
myself, I figure myself to be the obliger, that is, in a state 
of active necessitation (I, the very same person with the 
former, am the Obligor). And a position announcing a 
duty owed by mankind to himself (I ought to oblige my-» 
self), would state an obligement to become obliged, i. e. a 
passive obligation, which were, notwithstanding, at the samd 
time and in the same terms, an active one ; a statement 
repugnant to itself, and contradictory. The contradiction 
contained iii such a proposition may be set under a yet 
clearer light, by showing that the author of the obligation 
could always grant a dispensation to the obliged from the 
obligement; that is, by consequence, when the Author and 


the Subject of the obligation are the same, then, in such 
case, the obliger would not be at all beholden to any duty 
imposed by him upon himself; and this again is just the 
contradiction above insisted on. 

§ 2. There are Duties owed by Man to Himself, 

For, put the case, that there were in effect no such self- 
incumbent duties, then would all other duties, even the 
outward ones, be abolished ; for I only acknowledge my- 
self beholden and obliged to others, so far forth as I at 
the same time, along with the other, put that obligation 
upon myself; the law, by dint whereof alone I can re- 
cognise myself to be obliged, emanating in every instance 
from my own practical reason. By this reason I am ne- 
cessitated, and so am at the same time my own necessi- 

§ 3. Schdion of this Apparent Antiruymy. 

Man regards himself, when conscious of a duty to him- 
self, in a twofold capacity ; first, as a sensible being, i, e, 
as a man, where he ranks only, as one among other sorts 
of animals ; but, second, he regards himself not only as an 
intelligent being, but as a very reason (for the theore- 
tic function of reason may perhaps be a property of 
animated matter), resident in a region inscrutable to 
sense, and manifesting itself only in morally practical re- 
lations, where that amazing quality of man's nature— 
FREEDOM — is revealed by the influence reason exerts upon- 
/ tHe determination of the will. 

• Even in common speech we say, This is what I owe to myself. 


Mankind, then, as an Intelligent physical being (homo 
phenomenon), is susceptible of voluntary determination 
to active conduct by the suggestions of his reason ; but 
in all this the idea of obligation does not enter. The 
very same being, however, considered in respect of his 
personality (homo noumenon), t. e. cogitated as one in- 
vested with inward freedom, is a being capable of having 
obligation imposed upon him, and, in particulai*, of be- 
coming obligated and beholden to himself, i. e. to the 
humanity subsisting in his person; and, so considered in 
this twofold character, mankind can acknowledge the ob- 
ligations ho stands under to himself, without incurring 
any contradiction, the notion man being now understood 
to be taken in a twofold sense.- 

% 4i. On the Principle of subdividing the Duties owed by 
Man to Himself. 

This division can take place only according to the dif- 
ferent objects incumbent on him, for there can be no 
room for it in respect of the self-obliging subject ; the 
obliger and the obligated is always just one and the same 
person ; and although we may theoretically distinguish be- 
twixt man's soul and his body, as distinct qualities of his 
system and known nature, yet it is quite disallowed to 
regard them as different substances, founding distinct ob- 
ligations in respect of them, and so we cannot be entitled ( ^ 
to divide our duties into those owed to the body, and 
those due to the soul. Neither experience nor the deduc- 
tions of reason afford us any ground to hold that man has 
a soul (meaning by soul, a spiritual substance dwelling 


in his material framework, distinct from the last, arid in- 
dependent of it) ; and we do not know whether life may 
or may not be a property of matter. However, even on 
the hypothesis that man had a soul, still a duty owed by 
man to his body (as tlie subject obliging) would be quite 
in cogitable. 

First. There can obtain, therefore, only one objective 
division, extending at once to the form and to the matter 
of the duties owed by man to himself, the first whereof, the 
formal duties, are limitary or negative duties ; the second, 
the material, are extensive and positive duties owed by 
man to himself: the former forbid mankind to act con- 
trary to the. ends and purposes of his being, and so con- 
cern simply his ethical selfrpreservation ; the latter ordain 
him to make a given object of choice his end, and com- 
mand the perfecting of his own nature. Both these, as 
moral duties, are elements of virtue j the one as duties of 
omission [sustine et abstine), the other as duties of com- 
mission (viribus concessis utere) ; the first go to constitute 
man's ethic health {ad esse), and to the preservation of 
/the entireness of his system, both as objected to his exte- 
rior and to his interior senses {i. e. support his recepti- 
vity) ; the second constitute his ethic opulence {ad melius 
•esse), a wealth consisting in the possession of functions 
adapted for the realization of all ends, in so far as these 
powers and functions are matters of acquisition, and be- 
long to self-culture as an active and attained perfection. 
The first principle of duty is couched in the adage, " na- 
turce convenienter vive" i. e. "maintain thyself in the 
ORIGINAL perfection OF THY NATURE;" the second, in 
the position, /7er^ce te utjinem, perfice te ut medium" study 




But second. There is, however, a subjective division of 
the duties owed by man to himself; that is, such an one, 
where mankind, the subject of the obligement, regards 
himself as an animal, though also at the same time moral 
being, or as a moral being singly. 

Now, the instincts of man's animal nature are three- 
fold, viz. 1. the instinctive love of life, whereby nature pre- 
serves the individual ; 2. that instinct whereby nature 
aims at the preservation of the kind ; and 3. and lastly, 
those appetites of hunger and thirst which are intended 
for enlivening the frame, — keeping it fitted for its ends, — 
and at the same time for securing an agreeable, though 
only animal enjoyment of existence. The vices which 
are here subversive of the duty owed by man to himself, 
are 1. self-murder, 2. the unnatural use of the appetite 
for sex, 3. that excess in meat or drink which obtunds 
and lames the functions of the soul. As for the duty 
owed by man to himself as a moral being singly, it is 
FORMAL, and consists in the coincidence of the maxims of 
his will, with the dignity of the humanity subsisting in 
hts person ; by consequence, in the prohibition not to 
renounce the pre-eminence of his rank, which consists in 
his power of acting upon systematic principles and rules 
of life: that is, in the injunction not to despoil himself 
of his inward freedom, — that he become not thereby the 
toy and foot-ball of his own appetites and instincts, and so | 
a mere thing. The vices subversive of this duty are ly- 
ing, avarice, and spurious humility. These vices rest on 
maxims diametrically opposed, even already by their 
form, to the characters of mankind as a moral being; 
that is, they are formally repugnant to and subversive of 
the inborn dignity of man's nature, his inward freedom, 




Atid make $t, as it Wefre, a mail's maxim to have nonie, and 
Hg6 no character ; that is, to slattern himself down to zero, 
^iid so to sink beneath contempt. The virtue opposed to 
all these vices is self-reverence, and might be called 


thought having no common part with pride, which last 
be, as it often is, abject and vile. This pride (superbia) 
is particularly treated of in the sequel, under this title, as 
a VICE. 

ot'i*ttE DUTIES OF Perfect and determinate obligation. 



§ 5. 

The first if not chiefest duty incumbent upon man- 
kind, in respect of his brute nature, is his self-conser- 
vation in his animal estate. The anti-part of this obli- 
gation is the deliberate and forethought destruction of 
his animality ; and this may be considered as either total 
or partial. The total we call self-murder ; the partial, 
again, is either material or formal ; — material, when a man 
bereaves himself of any integrant part or organ of his 

^Y^AN TO HI^EI^F. 259 

body, by demembration or mutilation ; formal, when 
by excess man suffers himself to be bereft, for a mliih or 
for ever, of the use of the physical functions of his sys- 
:tem, and so likewise indirectly of his etl^ic rationality, 

§ 6. Of Self-murder. 

The voluntary divestiture of man's animal part can be 
called SELF-MURDER, only then when it is shown that 
£uch an act is criminal. A crime which may be perpe- 
trated, either simply on our own person, or also at the 
^same time and by consequence upon the person of ano- 
ther, e. g. as when one in pregnancy kills herself. 

Self-destruction is a crime— murder. Suicide may no 
doubt be, considered as the transgression of the duty owed 
by any one to his fellow-men ; as a viplation of the con- 
jugal obligations incumbent upon spouses ; as a disregard 
of the duty owed by a subject to his government (the 
state) ; or, lastly, as a dereliction of one's duty to God, 
the person quitting without his permission the post in- 
trusted to him by God in the world. But none of these 
amount to the crime of murder ; and the question at pre- 
sent to be considered is, whether or not deliberate self-de- 
struction is a violation of man's duty towards himself, 
even when abstraction is made from all those other con- 
siderations ; that is, whether man ought to acknowledge 
himself beholden to the self-conservation of his animal 
part (nay, most strictly and exactly beholden so to act, 
and that too by force singly of his personality). That a 
man can injure himself, appears absurd (volenti non fit 
injuria) ; and this was the reason why the Stoics consider- 


ed it to be a prerogative of the sage to walk with undis- 
turbed soul out of life as out of a smoky room, not urged 
by any present or apprehended evils, but simply because 
he could no longer sustain with eflFect his part in life ; 
and yet this very courage, this strength of soul to advance 
undauntedly to death, arguing his recognition of some- 
what prized by him far higher than life, ought to have 
taught him not to despoil a being of existence possessing 
so mighty a mastery and control over the strongest forces 
in his physic system. 

Mankind, so long as duty is at stake, cannot renounce 
his personality; that is, by consequence, never, — duty be- 
ing always his incumbent debt ; and it is a contradiction 
to hold that any one were entitled to withdraw himself 
from his obligations, and to act free, in such sense as to 
need no ground of warrant for his conduct. To abolish, 
then, in his own person the subject of morality, is tanta- 
mount to expunging with all his might the very being of 
morality from the world, which morality is, however, an 
end in itself. Whence we conclude, that to dispose of 
one's life for some fancied end, is to degrade the humani- 
ty subsisting in his person (homo noumenon), and intrust- 
ed to him (homo phenomenon) to the end that he might 
uphold and preserve it. 

For any one to deprive himself of an integral part of 
his frame, to dismember or mutilate his organs, as when, 
for instance, any one sells or gifts a tooth to be trans- 
planted into the jaw of another, or to submit to emascu- 
lation to gain an easier livelihood as a singer, and so on, 
are acts of partial self-murder. The like observation, 
however, does not hold of the amputation of a decayed or 
mortified member, which it might be even dangerous to 


keep. Neither can we say that it is a violation of one's 
person to remove what is a part and pertinent, but still no 
organ of the body, e. g. to cut one's hair ; but were this 
done with a view to making gain by the sale of one's 
tresses, such an act could not be regarded as altogether 
devoid of blame. 

Casuistics. — Is it self-murder to devote one's self, like 
Gurtius, to certain death for the liberation of his coun- 
try ? Is martyrdom — the deliberate offering of one's self 
up for the benefit of mankind at large — capable of being 
regarded, like the former, as a trait of a heroic charac- 
ter ? 

Is it allowed to anticipate an unjust sentence of death 
by suicide ? Even wei-e the sovereign to grant this permis- 
sion, as Nero to Seneca ? 

Can we regard it as a crime, on the part of our late 
great monarch,* that he always bore about with him a 
poison, probably in order that if he should be taken in 
war, which he always carried on in person, he might not 
be compelled to accept conditions of ransom too burden- 
some to his country ? A motive we are entitled to ascribe 
to him, as it is not likely he was impelled to it by mere 

A patient feeling decided symptoms of hydrophobia, 
after the bite of a mad dog, declared, that as this com- 
plaint was incurable, he would destroy himself, lest, as 
he stated in his testament, he should, in a paroxysm of the 
disease, occasion some disaster to his fellow-men. It is de- 
manded if he acted wrong? 

He who inoculates himself for small-pox, hazards his 

* Frederick II. 


life on aA uncerfainfy, even although he does so with a 
view to its' Aiore effectual preservation, and places himself 
in a much more ambiguous relation to the law, than the 
mariner, who does not excite the storm which he encotrri- 
iers, whereas this other is himself the catuse of his running 
the risk of death. Is such inoculation lawful ? 

§ 7. Of Self-defilement. 

\ As' the love of life is bestowed upon us for the preser- 
1 vation of our person, so the love of sex for the continu- 
ance of our kind. Either appetite is a last end purposed 
by nature ; by end is to be understood that connexion 
obtaining betwixt a cause and its effect, where the cause, 
although unintelligent, is nevertheless cogitated according 
fo the analogy it bcSars to dn understanding, that is, is 
spolcen of and taken as if it intentionally and of design 
tended to the eduction of its own effect. In this way, a 
question arises, if the power of propagating one's species 
stands under a restrictive law ; or if a person who exer- 
cises such a faculty may, without subverting any duty by 
doing so, overlook that end of nature, and employ his in- 
tersexual organs as the mere engine of brute pleasure. 

in the elementary principles of law, we took occasion 
to show, that mankind could not serve himself of the per- 
son of another, in order to this enjoyment, except subject 
to tte liriiitary conditions of a particular legal contract 
(marriage), iti which event two persons become mutually 
obliged to one another. But the question ethics under- 
takes is this. Whether there be or not a duty owed by 
man to himself, in respect of this appetite, the violation 
whereof attaints (not merely degrades) the humanity 


inhabiting his person. The appetite itself is called lust, 
and the vice it gives birth to is called impurity. The 
virtue, again, raised upon this instinct of the sensory is 
termed chastity ; and this chastity is now to be repre- 
sented as a duty owed by man to himself. A lust is sai4 
to be unnatural, when a man is impelled to it, not by a 
real given matter objected to his sensory, but by the py^- 
ductive power of his imagination, depicting to him in 
fancy the object, contrary to the epd aimed at by nature j 
for the power of appetition is then put into operation in 
fiuch a manner as to evade or subvert the ends of nature ; 
9,ud> in truth, an end yet more important thati the en4 
proposed by nature in the instinctive love of life : this 
tending only to the conservation of the individual, tluit to 
the upholding uninterrupted the succession of the species. 

That this unnatural use (and so abuse) of one's sexual 
organs, is a violation, in the highest degree, of the duty 
owed by any to himself, is manifest to everybody; and 
is a thought so revolting, that even the naming this vice 
by its own name is regarded as a kind of immorality, 
which is not the case, however, with self-murder, which 
no one hesitates to detail in all its horrors, and publish to 
the world in specie facti ; just as if mankind at large felt 
ashamed at knowing himself capable of an act sinking 
him so far beneath the brutes. 

And yet to prove upon grounds of reason the inadmis- 
sibility of that unnatural excess, and even the disallowed- 
ness of a mere irregular use of one's sexual part, so far forth 
as they are violations (and in regard of the former, even 
in the highest possible degree) of the duty owed by man to 
himself, is a taslc of no slight or common difficulty. Tha 
ground of proving is to be sought no doubt in this, that 


man meanly abdicates his personality, when he attempts 
to employ himself as a hare means to satisfy a brutal 
lust. At the same time, the high and prodigious enormi- 
ty of the violation perpetrated by man against the huma- 
nity subsisting in his person, by so unnatural and porten- 
tous a lust, which seems, as we have said, formally to 
transcend in magnitude the guilt of self-murder, remains 
unexplained upon this argument ; unless, perhaps, it 
might be urged, that the headlong obstinacy of the suicide, 
who casts away life as a burden, is no effeminate surren- 
der to sensitive excitement, but shews valour, and so 
leaves ground for reverencing the humanity he repre- 
sents ; while this other resigns himself an abandoned out- 
cast to brutality, enjoying his own self-abuse, that is, he 
makes himself an object of abomination, and stands be- 
reft of all reverence of any kind. 

§ 8. Of Self-obstupefaction by Excessive Indulgence in 
Meats and Drinks. 

The vice existing in this species of intemperance, is 
not estimated by the prejudice, or bodily pains, mankind 
may entail upon himself, as the sequents of his excess ; 
for then we should regulate our judgment upon a prin- 
ciple of conveniency (^. e. on a system of eudaimonism), 
which, however, affords no ground of duty, but only of a 
dictate of expediency ; at least such principle gives birth 
to no direct obligations. 

The inordinate gratification of our bodily wants, is that 
abuse of aliments which obtunds the operations of the in- 
tellect; drunkenness and gluttony are the two vices fall- 
ing under this head. The drunkard renounces, for the 


seductive goblet, that rationality which alone pi-oclaims 
the superiority of his rank ; and is, while in his state of 
intoxication, to be dealt with as a brute only, not as a 
person. The glutton, gorged with viands, obtunds his 
powers for a while, and is incapacitated for such exer- 
cises as demand suppleness of body, or the reflections of 
the understanding. That the putting one's self into such 
a situation, is a grave violation of what a man owes to 
himself, is self-evident. The former state of degradation, 
abject even beneath the beasts, is commonly brought about 
by the excessive use of fermented liquors, or of stupifying 
drugs, such as opium, and other products of the vege- 
table kingdom ; the betraying power whereof lies in 
this, that for a while a dreamy happiness, and freedom 
from solicitude, or perhaps a fancied fortitude, is begotten, 
which, after all, concludes in despondency and sadness, 
and so unawares, and by insensible and unsuspected steps, 
introduces the need and want to repeat and to augment 
the stupifying dose. Gluttony must be reputed still lower 
in the scale of animal enjoyment ; for it is purely passive, 
and does not waken to life the energies of fancy — a fa- 
culty susceptible for a long time of an active play of its 
perceptions during the obstupefaction of the former, upon 
which account gluttony is the more beastly vice. 

Casuistics. — Can we, if not as the panegyrists, yet as 
the apologists of wine, accord to it a use bordering on in- 
toxication, so far forth as it animates conversation, and 
combines the society by the frankness it produces ? Can 
we, in any event, say of wine what Seneca has said 
when talking of Cato, Virtus ejus incaluit mero ? But who 
is he who will assign a measure to one, who stands on 
the brink of passing into a state, where all eyesight fails 


him to measure any thing, nay, whose disposition is in 
full march to go beyond it ? To employ opium or ardent 
spirits as instruments of one's animal gratification, is very 
much akiu to meanness ; because these, by their soporific 
welfare, render the individual mute, reserved, and unso- 
cial ; upon which accounts it is that these are allowed only 
in medicine. Mahometanism has made but an injudi- 
cious selection, when it forbids wine, and allows the use of 
opium in its stead. 

A banquet (Lord Mayor's feasjt) is a formal invitation 
to a double intemperance in both kinds, although it has, 
over and above the stimulating of one's physical existence, 
a reference to a moral end, viz. the advancing of man's 
social intercourse with his species. Yet, because, when- 
ever the number of the guests exceeds, as Chesterfield 
says, the number of the muses, the very multitude ob 
structs the social exchange, and admits only the talking 
to one's immediate neighbours, i. e. since a feast is an in- 
stitution subverting its own end, it remains to be regard- 
ed only as a seduction to excess, i. e. to immorality, and 
to a violation of the duty owed by man to himself. To 
what extent is mankind ethically entitled to give ear to 
such invitations ? 




This duty is opposed to the vices of lying, avarice, and 
false humility. 


§ 9. Of Lying. 

The highest violation of the duty owed by man to him- 
self, considered as a moral being singly (owed to the hu- 
manity subsisting in his person), is a departure from truth, 
or lying. That every deliberate untruth in uttering one's 
thoughts must bear this name in ethics, is of itself evident, 
although in law it was only styled fraud or falsehood, 
when it violated the rights of others — ethics giving no 
title to vice on account of its harmlessness ; for the dis- 
honour {i. e. to be an object of ethical disdain) it entails, 
accompanies the liar like his shadow. A lie may be either 
external or internal ; by means of this he falls under the 
contempt of others, but by means of thxiU falls, which is 
much worse, under his own, and violates the dignity of hu- 
manity in his own person. We say nothing here of the da- 
mage he may occasion to other people, the damage being 
no characteristic of the vice ; for it would then be turned 
into a violation of the duty owed to others : nor yet of the 
damage done by the liar to himself ; for then the lie, as a 
mere error in prudence, would contradict only the hypo- 
thetical, not the categorical imperative, and could not be 
held as violating duty at all. A lie is the abandonment, 
and, as it were, the annihilation, of the dignity of a man. 
He who does not himself believe what he states to ano- 
ther person (were it but an ideal person), has a still less 
value than if he were a mere thing ; for of the qualities of 
this last some use may be made, these being determinate 
and given ; but for any one to communicate thoughts to an- 
other by words intended to convey the contrary of what 
the speaker really thinks, is an end subversive of the pur- 
pose and design for which nature endowed us with a fa- 


culty of interchanging thought, and is upon these accounts 
a renunciation of one's personality, after which the liar goes 
about, not as truly a man, but as the deceptive appear- 
ance of one only. Veracity in one's statements is called 
CANDOUR ; if such statements contain promises, fidelity : 
both together make up what is called sincerity. 

A lie, in the ethical signification of the word, consider- 
ed as intentional falsehood, need not be prejudicial to 
others in order to be reprobated, for then it would be a 
violation of the rights of others. Levity, nay, even good- 
nature, may be its cause, or some good end may be aimed 
at by it. However, the giving way to such a thing is by 
its bare form a crime perpetrated by man against his own 
person, and a meanness, making a man contemptible in 
his own eyes. 

The reality of many an inward lie, the guilt whereof 
man entails upon himself, is easily set forth ; but to ex- 
plain the possibility of such a thing is not so easy ; and it 
looks like as if a second person were required, whom we 
intended to deceive, since deliberately to deceive one's 
self, sounds like a contradiction. 

Man as a moral being (homo noumenon), cannot use 
himself as a physical being (homo phenomenon), as a mere 
instrument of speech, nowise connected with the internal 
end of communicating his thoughts; but he is bound to 
the condition, under his second point of view, of making 
his declaration harmonize with his inward man, and so is 
obliged to veracity towards himself. Mankind thus per- 
verts himself, when he bubbles himself into the belief in 
a future judge, although he find none such within him- 
self, in the persuasion that it can do no harm, but may, 
on the contrary, be of service, inwardly to confess such 


faith before the Searcher of his Heart, in order, in any 
event, to insinuate himself into his favour. Or otherwise, 
supposing him to entertain no doubts on this point, still 
he may flatter himself that he is an inward reverer of His 
law, although he knows no other incentive than the fear 
of hell. 

Insincerity is just want of conscientiousness, i. e. of sin- 
cerity in a man's avowals to his inward judge, cogitated 
as a person different from himself. To take this matter 
quite rigidly, this would be insincerity, to hold a wish 
framed by self-love for the deed, because the end aimed 
at by it is good ; and the inward lie told by a man to him- 
self, although a violation of his duty towards himself, 
commonly goes under the name of, and is taken for, a 
weakness, pretty much in the same way as the wish of a 
lover to find only good qualities in his adored, seals his 
eyes to her most glaring defects. However, this insin- 
cerity in the statements declared by man to himself, de- 
serves the most serious reprehension ; for, from this 
rotten spot (which seems to taint the vitals of humani- 
ty), the evil of insincerity spreads into one's intercourse 
with one's fellow-men, the maxim of truth being once 
broken up. 

Remark. — It is exceedingly remarkable, that holy writ 
dates the original of evil, not from the fratricide of Cain 
(against which nature revolts), but from the first lie; and 
states the author of all evil under the denomination of the 
Liar from the beginning, and the Father of lies ; although 
reason can give no account of this proneness of mankind 
to hypocrisy ; which deflective tendency must however 
have preceded man's actual lapse, an act of freedom not 
admitting, as physical effects do, a deduction and explana- 



tion from the law of cause and effect, this last law refer- 
ring singly to phenomena. 

Casuistical Questions. — Are falsehoods out of pure 
politeness (the most ohedient servant at the end of a let- 
ter), lying ? No one is deceived by them. An author asks, 
" How do you like my new work ?" Now the answer 
might be given illusorily, by jesting upon the captious- 
ness of such a question ; but who has wit enough always 
ready ? The smallest tarrying in replying must, of itself, 
mortify the author. Is it then allowed to pay him com- 
pliments ? 

If I lie, in matters of importance, in the actual busi- 
ness of life, must I bear all the consequences resulting 
from my falsehood? One gives orders to his servant, if 
any call for him, to say he is not at home : the domestic 
does so, and becomes in this way the cause of his master's 
finding opportunity to commit a crime, which would other- 
wise have been prevented by the messenger-at-arms, who 
came to execute his warrant. On whom, according to 
ethic principles, does the blame fall ? Unquestionably, in 
part upon the servant, who violated by his lie a duty 
owed by him to himself, the consequences of which, also, 
will be imputed to him by his own conscience. 

§ 10. Of Avarice. 

I understand in this chapter not rapacious avarice, the 
propensity to extend one's gains beyond one's needs, in 
order to sumptuous fare; but the avarice of hoarding, 
which, when sordid, makes a man a miser, not so much 
because it disregards the obligations of charity, as because 
it narrows and contracts the proper enjoyment of the 


^oods of life within the measure of one's real wants, and 
so is repugnant to the duty owed by man to himself. 

It is in the exposition of this vice that we can best dis- 
play the inaccuracy of all those accounts of virtue and 
vice which make them differ in " degree^''' and show clearly 
at the same time the inapplicability of Aristotle's famous 
"principle, that virtue is the mean betwixt two extreme 

Thus, when, for nistance, I regard frugality as the 
mean betwixt prodigality and avarice, and state this me- 
dium as one of degree, then the one vice could not pass 
tinto its opposite and contrary (which, however, is not 
unfrequent), except by passing through the intermediate 
virtue, and in this way virtue would come to be a dimi- 
nishing vice, i. e. a vice at its vanishing quantity ; and the 
true inference from this would be, in the present instance, 
that the perfect point of moral duty would consist in 
making no use at all of the bounties of fortune. 

Neither the measure nor the quantum of acting upon a 
maxim, but that maxim's objective principle, is what con- 
stitutes the act a vice or a virtue. The maxim of the ava- 
ricious and rapacious prodigal is to accumulate wealth, 
in order that he may enjoy it ; that of the sordidly avari- 
cious, or MISER, is, oil the contrary, to acquire and to keep 
accumulated his wealth, where he makes the bare pos- 
session of it his end, and dispenses with the enjoyment. 

The peculiar characteristic of the miser is this, that he 
adopts the principle of hoarding up the means conducive 
to many ends, with the inward reservation, never to ap- 
ply such means to their destined uses, and so to bereave 
himself of all the amenities and sweets of life ; a maxim 
utterly subversive of the duty a man owes to himself. 



we treat here only of 

Profusion and hoarding, then, diff 3r not in degree, but 
they are specifically distinct in res]3ect of their contrary 
and inconsistent maxims.* 

Casuistical Question. — Since 
duties owed to one's self, and rapacious avarice (insatiable 
cupidity of wealth), and the avarice of hoarding, rest on 
the common ground of self-love, and seem both objection- 
able, merely because they conclude in poverty, in the case 

* The position, one ought never to ovi:R.DO or under-do any- 
thing, says nothing, for it is tautological. What is it to over-do ? 
Ans. To do more than is right. What is ii^ to under-do ? To do less 
than is right. What is meant by one ought ? Ahs. It is not right to 
do more or less than is right. If this be the wisdom to be pumped from 
Aristotle, we have made a bad choice in our fountain. 

There is betwixt truth and falsehood no ijnean, although there is be- 
twixt frankness and reserve : the reserved takes care that every thing he 
says is true, but he does not tell the whole truth, and a medium may be 
assigned. Now, it is quite natural to ask the moralist, to indicate this 
golden mean ; which, however, cannot be done, for both virtues admit of 
a certain latitude, and the bounds put to candour and reserve is a matter 
for a man's judgment, and so is a question felling under the pragmatic 
rules of prudence, and not under the impel'ative of morality : that is 
to say, the solution affects a question of indeterminate obligation, and 
must not be handled as if it were strict and definite. He therefore who 
obeys the laws of duty, may, if he do more than prudence would pre- 
scribe, in a given conjuncture, commit in so far a fault ; but he commits 
none, in so far as he rigidly adheres to his m)ral maxims, much less a 
vice in so doing ; and Horace's lines, 

Insani sapiens nomen ferat, sequlus iniqui 
Ultra quam satis est, virtutem si petat ipsam, 

contain downright falsehood, if taken to the letter. Sapiens seems to 
mean a good, dog-trot, prudent man, who doe$ not feed his imagination 
with any phantastic idea of perfection, which is to be aspired to, though 
not attained, which last exceeds man's power, snd we would run up ethics 
into an absurdity. But to be too virtuous, . e. too attached and de- 
voted to duty, is as much as drawing a right li ne too straight, or a circle 
too round. 



of the former, issuing in unexpected, in that of the latter, 
in a voluntary indigence (by force of the determination 
to live in poverty) — since, I say, all this is the case, the 
question might be raised, if they are either of them at all 
vices, and not rather mere imprudencies, and so not fall- 
ing within the sphere of the duties owed by man to him- 
self; but the sordid avarice is not a mere misunderstood 
economy, it is an abject and servile enthralling of a 
man's self to the dominion of money, and is a submitting 
to cease to be its master, which is a violation of the duty 
owed by man to himself : It is the opposite of that gene- 
rous liberality of sentiment (not of munificent liberality, 
which is no more than a particular case of the former), 
which determines to shake itself free from every consider- 
ation whatever, the law alone excepted, and is a defrau- 
dation committed by man against himself. And yet, what 
kind of law is that, whereof the very inward legislator 
knows not the application? Ought I to retrench the out- 
lays of my table, or the expenses of my dress ? Should I 
in youth, or in my old age ? Or is there, generally speak- 
ing, any such virtue as that of thrift ? 

§ 11. Of False and Spurious Humility. 

Man, as a part of the physical system (homo phenome- 
non, animal rationale), is an animal of very little mo- 
ment, and has but a common value with beasts, and the 
other products of the soil. Even that he is superior to 
those by force of his understanding, gives him only a 
higher external value in exchange, when brought to the 
market along with other cattle, and sold as wares. 



But man considered as a person, i. e. as the subject of 
ethico-active reason, is exalted beyond all price : for as 
such (homo noumenon), he cannot be taken for a bare 
means, conducive either to his own or to other persons' 
ends, but must be esteemed an end in himself; that 
is to say, he is invested with an internal dignity (an ab- 
solute worth), in name of which, he extorts reverence for 
his person, from every other finite intelligent throughout 
the universe, and is entitled to compare himself with all 
such, and to deem himself their equal. 

The humanity of our common nature is the object of 
that reverence exigible by each man from his fellow, 
which reverence, however, he must study not to forfeit. 
He may, and indeed he ought to estimate himself by a 
measure, at once great and small, according as he con- 
templates his physical existence as an animal, or his co- 
gitable being, according to the ethical substratum of his 
nature. Again, since he has to consider himself not 
merely as a person, but also as a man, that is, as such a 
person as has imposed upon him duties put upon him by 
his own reason, his insignificance as an animal ought 
neither to impair nor affect his consciousness of his dig- 
nity as a rational, and he ought not to forget his ethical 
self-reverence springing from his latter nature; that is to 
say, he ought not to pursue those ends which are his du- 
ties servilely, or as if he sought for the favour of any other 
person : he ought not to renounce his dignity, but al- 
ways to uphold in its integrity, his consciousness of the 
loftiness of the ethical substratum of his nature ; and this 
self-reverence is a duty owed by man to himself. 

The consciousness and feeling of one's little worth, 
when compared with the law, is ethical humility: the 



over-persuasion that a man has a great deal of moral 
worth, but only owing to his neglecting to quadrate him- 
self with the law, is ethical arrogancy, and might be call- 
ed SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS. But to renounce all claim to 
any moral worth, in the hope of thereby acquiring a bor- 
rowed and another, is false ethical humility, and may be 
called SPIRITUAL hypocrisy. 

Humility, understood as a low opinion of one's self, 
when compared with other persons, is no duty (nor, ge- 
nerally speaking, in comparison with any finite being, 
although a seraph) : the active endeavour, in such com- 
parison, to find one's self equal or superior to others, in 
the imagination of thereby augmenting his inward worth, 
is AMBITION, a vice diametrically opposed to the duty 
we owe to others ; but the studied declinature of all one's 
proper ethic worth, considered as a mean for ingratiating 
one's self into the favour of another (be that other who he 
may), is false and counterfeit humility — (hypocrisy, 
flattery)— and a degradation of one's personality, sub- 
verting the duty he owes to himself. 

Upon an exact and sincere comparison of a man's self 
with the moral law (its holiness and rigour), true humility 
must infallibly result; but, from the very circumstance 
that we can know ourselves capable of such an inward 
legislation, and that the physical man finds himself com- 
pelled to stand in awe of the ethical man in his own per- 
son, there results also at the same time a feeling of exal- 
tation, and the highest possible self-estimation, as the 
consciousness of one's inward worth, by force of which he is 
raised far beyond all price, and sees himself invested with 
an inalienable dignity, inspiring him with reverence for 



§ 12. 

This duty, in respect of the dignity of our humanity, 
can be rendered more sensible by such precepts as the 

Become not the slaves of other men. Suffer not thy 
rights to be trampled under foot by others with impuni- 
ty. Make no debts thou mayest be unable to discharge. 
Receive no favours thou canst dispense with, and be neither 
parasites nor flatterers, nor, for they differ but in degree, 
beggars. Live then frugally, lest one day thou come to 
beggary. Howling and groaning, nay, a mere scream at a 
bodily pain, is beneath thy dignity as a raian, more espe- 
cially when conscious that thou hast thyself demerited it. 
Hence the ennoblement of (averting of ignominy from) the 
death of a malefactor, by the constancy with which he 
meets his fate. To kneel or prostrate thyself upon the 
earth, in order to depicture in a more lively image to thy 
fancy, thy adoration of celestial objects, derogates from 
thy dignity as a man ; as does also the worshipping of 
them by images : for then thou humblest thyself, not be- 
fore an IDEAL, the handy work of thy reason, but beneath 
an IDOL, the workmanship/of thy hands. 

Casuistics. — Is not the elation of mind in self-reve- 
rence, considered as a consciousness of the lofty destiny 
of man, too much akin to arrogance, i. e. to self-conceit, 
to make it advisable to summon up to it, not only in re- 
spect of the moral law, but even in respect of other men ? 
or would not self-denial in this particular invite others to 
despise our person, and so be a violation of what is due 
by man to himself? — Fawning and scraping to another 
is in any event unworthy of a man. 



Are not the different styles of address, and the especial 
marks of respect, denoting, with such painful anxiety, 
difference of rank in society, — all which differs widely 
from politeness, a thing indispensable for mutually re- 
verencing one another, — the thou, he, they, your high 
WISDOM, YOUR REVERENCE, &c. &c. in which pedantry 
the Germans go beyond all nations on the earth, the Indian 
castes perhaps alone excepted, — are not, I say, these, 
proofs of a widely spread tendency among mankind to 
false and spurious humility ? (hae nugse in seria ducunt). 
— However, he who first makes himself a worm, dare not 
complain when he is trampled under foot. 



§ 13. 

The idea duty always involves and objects to the mind 
that of necessitation by law (law being an ethical impera- 
tive limiting our freedom), and belongs to our moral un- 
derstanding, which prescribes the rule. The inward im- 
putation of an act, however, as of an event falling under 
the law, belongs to the judgment, which being the sub- 
jective principle of the imputation of an act, utters its ver- 
dict whether or not any given deed {i. e. act subsumible 
under law) has been done or not, after which reason pro- 
nounces sentence, i. e. connects the act with its legal con- 
sequences, and so absolves or condemns ; all which is car- 
ried on before a court of justice, as if in the presence of 



an ethical person sitting to give effect to the law. The 
consciousness of an internal tribunal in man, before which 
his thoughts accuse or excuse him, is what is called con- 

Every man has conscience, and finds himself inspected 
by an inward censor, by whom he is threatened and kept 
in awe (reverence mingled with dread) ; and this power 
watching over the law, is nothing arbitrarily (optionally) 
adopted by himself, but is interwoven with his substance. 
It follows him like his shadow, however he may try to 
flee from it. He may indeed deafen himself by pleasures 
or by business, or he may lull himself into a lethargy ; but 
this is only for a while, and he must inevitably come now 
and then to himself; nor can he hinder himself from ever 
and anon awaking, whereupon he hears his dreadful and 
appalling voice. In the last stage of reprobation man may 
indeed have ceased to heed him, but not to hear him is 

This originary intellectual and ethical (for it refers to 
duty) disposition of our nature, called conscience, has this 
peculiarity, that, although this whole matter is an affair 
of man with himself, he notwithstanding finds his reason 
constrained to carry on the suit, as if it were 'at the insti- 
gation of another person ; for the procedure is the con- 
duct of a cause before a court. Now, that he who is the 
accused by his conscience should be figured to be just the 
same person as his judge, is an absurd representation of a 
tribunal; since in such event the accuser would always lose 
his suit. Conscience must therefore represent to itself al- 
ways some one, other than itself, as judge, unless it is 
to arrive at a contradiction with itself. This other may 


be either a real — or an ideal person the product of rea- 

Such an ideal person, authorized to sit as jwdge in the 
court of conscience, must be a searcher of the heart, 
for the tribunal is erected in the interior of man. Far- 
ther, he must hold all-obligatory power, i. e. be such 
a person, or at least be figured as if he were a person, in 
respect of whom all duty may be represented as his com- 
mandments, because conscience is judge over all free ac- 
tions. Lastly, he must have all power (in heaven and in 
earth) to absolve and to condemn, these properties being of 
the very essence of the functions of a judge: apart from 
his being endowed wherewith, he could give no effect to 
the law. But since he who searches the heart, and, hav- 
ing all-obligatory power, is able to absolve and to condemn, 
is called God, it follows that conscience must be regarded 

• The twofold personality in which the man who accuses and judges 
himself, has to cogitate himself, this double self, forced on the one hand 
to appear trembling at the bar of a tribunal, where, on the other hand, 
he sits as judge, invested as his birth-right, with such authority, needs 
some explanation, lest reason seem to be involved in a contradiction 
with itself. I at once, accused and accuser, am numerically one and the 
same person, but, as the subject of the moral legislation, based on the 
idea freedom (Jiomo tioutnenon)^ must be considered, though only for a 
practical behoof, as diverse from the phenomenal man endowed with 
reason. I'or a practical behoof only, we say, because of the relation ob- 
taining betwixt the cogitable and the sensible systems speculation gives 
no theory. And this specific difference betwixt the real and the pheno- 
menal man is the difference of the superior and inferior faculties by which 
man is characterised. The former accuse, the latter appear in defence : 
after closing the record, the inward judge, as he who is invested with 
judiciary authority, utters the doom of bliss or woe, as ethical sequents 
of the deed ; but in this capacity (which is that of a sovereign governor) 
we are unable to investigate any further the sources of its power, but 
are constrained to stand in awe of the unconditionate jubeo or veto of 
our reason. 


as a subjective principle implanted in the reason of man, 
calling for an account of every action before God. Nay, 
this notion of responsibility is at all times involved, how- 
ever darkly, in every act of moral self-consciousness. 

This is not by any means to say, that man is entitled, 
and still less that he is bound, to believe in, as real, any 
such Supreme Being, answering to the idea, to which con- 
science inevitably points ; for the idea is given him not 
objectively by speculative reason, but subjectively only, 
by practical reason obliging itself to act conformably to 
this representation. And mankind is, by means of this 
idea, but merely from its analogy to that of a sovereign 
lawgiver of the universe, led to figure to himself conscien- 
tiousness (in the old language of the empire religio), as 
a responsibility owed to a most holy being, different 
from ourselves, and yet most intimately present to our 
substance (moral legislative reason), and to submit our- 
selves to his will as if it were a law of righteousness. 
The notion of religion in genere, is therefore just this, that 
it is a principle of esteeming of all our duties as if they 
were divine commandments. 

1. In an affair of conscience, man figures to himself a 
pre-admonitory or warning conscience, before he decides 
on acting ; and here the minutest scruple, when it refers 
to an idea of duty (somewhat in itself moral), and over 
which conscience is the alone judge, is of weight, nor is it 
ever regarded as a trifle ; nor can what would be a real 
transgression, be declared according to the sayingof minima 
non curat prcBfor, a bagatelle or peccadillo, and so left 
for an arbitrary and random determination. Hence, hav- 
ing a large conscience is the same with having none. 

2. As soon as an act is determined on and completed. 


the accuser immediately presents himself in the court of 
conscience, and along with him there appears a defen- 
der, and the suit is never decided amicably, but according 
to the rigour of the law. After which follows, 

3. The sentence of conscience upon the man, either 
ABSOLVING or CONDEMNING, which concludcs the cause. 
As to which final judgment, we remark, that the former 
sentence never decrees a reward as the gaining of some- 
thing which was not there before, but leaves room only 
for satisfaction at escaping condemnation. The bliss 
therefore announced by the consoling voice of conscience 
is not POSITIVE (as joy), but only negative (tranquilliza- 
tion after previous apprehension) ; a blessedness capable 
of being ascribed to virtue only, as a warfare with the in- 
fluences of the evil principle in man. 

§14. The first Commandment of all Duties owedhy Man to 


This is, KNOW thyself, not after thy physical perfec- 
tion, but after thy ethical, in reference to thy dut^. 
Search, try thy heart, whether it be good or evil, whe- 
ther the springs of thy conduct be pure or impure ; and 
how much, either as originally belonging to thy substance 
or as acquired by thee, may be imputable to thy account, 
and may go to make up thy moral state. 

This self-examination, which seeks to fathom the scarce- 
ly penetrable abysses of the human heart, and the self- 
knowledge springing from it, is the beginning of all hu- 
man wisdom. For this wisdom, which consists in the ac- 
cordance of the will of an intelligent with the last end of 
his existence, requires in man, first, that he disembarrass 


himself of an inward impediment (an evil will, nestled in 
his person) ; and, second, the unremitted effort to develope 
his originary inamissible substratum for a good one. Only 
the Avernan descent of self-knowledge paves a way to self- 


This ethical self-knowledge guards, first, against the fa- 
natical detestation of one's self as a man, and against a 
disdain of the whole human race in general. It is only by 
force of the glorious substratum for morality within us, 
which substratum it is that renders man venerable, that we 
are enabled to find any man despicable, or to hand our- 
selves over to our own contempt, when seen to fall short of 
this august standard; an ethical disregard attaching to 
this or that man singly, never to humanity in general. 
And then it guards, secondly, against the fond and fatal 
self-delusion of taking a bare wish, however ardent, for 
any index of a good heart ; and obviates irregular self-es- 
timation. Even PRAYER is no more than a wish, inwardly 
uttered in the presence of a Searcher of the Heart. Im- 
partiality, in judging of ourselves, when compared with 
the law, and sincerity in a man's own self-confession 
of his own inward ethical worth or unworth, are the du- 
ties owed by man to himself, immediately founded on this 
first commandment of self-knowledge. 



§ 16. Of an Amphiboly of the Reflex Moral Notions ; where- 
by Mankind is led to regard what is only a Duty towards 
himself, as if it were a Duty owed by him to others. 

To judge on grounds of naked reason, man has no du- 
ties imposed upon him, except those owed by him to hu- 
manity in general (himself or others) ; for his ohlige- 
ment towards any person imports ethical necessitation by 
that person's will. The necessitating (obliging) subject 
must then, in every instance, be, first, a person ; and 
must, SECOND, be a person objected to our knowledge in 
experience and observation ; for, since man has to work 
towards the end of that person's will, this is a relation 
possible only betwixt two given existing beings, no ima- 
ginary or barely cogitable persons becoming the final 
cause and scope of any one's actions. But experience and 
observation teach a knowledge of no other being, except 
our fellow-men, capable of obligation, whether active or 
passive. Mankind can, therefore, have no duty toward 
any being, other than his fellow-men ; and when he figures 
to himself that there are such, this arises singly from an 
amphiboly of his reflex moral notions ; and this fancied 
duty owed by him to others is no more than a duty 
to himself, he being misled to this misunderstanding by 
confounding what is duty to himself in regard of other 
beings, with a duty toward those others. 

This fancied duty may extend, either to impersonals, 
or if to personal, yet to invisible beings, not objected 
to our sensory. The former will be either the physical mat- 


ter of the universe, or else its organized but impercipient 
products ; or, lastly, that part of nature which we see en- 
dowed with choice, motion, and perception (minerals, (2.) 
plants, (3.) animals). The latter will have a reference to 
super-human beings, cogitated as spiritual substances 
(God, angels). And we now ask, does there obtain, be- 
twixt these different kinds of beings and man, any rela- 
tion of duty ; and if so, what is the nature and extent of 
this obligation ? 

§ IT. 

In regard of the beautiful but lifeless objects in na- 
ture, to indulge a propensity to destroy them, is subver- 
sive of the duty owed by man to himself. For this spirit 
of destruction lays waste that feeling in man, which, 
though not itself ethical, is yet akin to it, and aids and 
supports, or even prepares a way for a determination of 
the sensory, not unfavourable to morality, viz. the emo- 
tion of disinterested complacency in somewhat quite apart 
from any view of its utility, e. g. as when we find delight 
in contemplating a fine crystallization, or the unutterable 
beauties of the vegetable kingdom. 

In regard of the animated but irrational part of the cre- 
ation, it is undoubted that a savage and cruel treatment 
of them is yet more inly ^repugnant to what man owes to 
himself; for it blunts and obtunds our natural sympathy 
with their pangs, and so lays waste, gradually, the physi- 
cal principle which is of service to morality, and assists 
greatly the discharge of our duty towards other men. But 
to kill them, or to set them on work not beyond their 
strength (which labour man himself must undertake), is 


in nowise disallowed ; although to torture them, with a 
view to recondite experiments subsei'ving a mere specula- 
tion, which could be dispensed with, is detestable. Nay, 
gratitude for the services of an old horse, or house-dog, 
is indirectly a duty, namely, an indirect duty in regard 
OF these animals ; for, directly^ it is no more than what a 
man owes to himself. 


In regard of a Being transcending all bounds of know- 
ledge, but whose existence is notwithstanding given to us 
in idea, viz. the Godhead, we have in like manner a duty 
called RELIGION, which is the duty of recognising all our 
duties, AS IF THEY WERE divine commandments. But 
this is not the consciousness of a duty toward God. For 
since this idea rises singly upon our own reason, and is 
made by ourselves for the behoof of explaining theoreti- 
cally the symmetry and fitness of means to ends observed 
in the fabric of the universe, or practically to give added 
force to the main-spring of action, it is manifest that we 
have nowhat given, toward whom an obligation could 
be constituted; and his reality would first need to be 
established by experience (or revealed). And the duty 
we have here is to apply this indispensable idea of reason 
to the moral law within us, where it proves of the great- 
est ethical fertility. In this practical sense, it may be 
asserted, that to have religion is a duty owed by man to 




§ 19. Of the Duty owed by Him to Himself of advancing his 
Physical Perfection. 

The culture of all the different resources of mind, soul, 
and body, as means conducive to many ends, is a duty 
owed by man to himself. Man owes it to himself as a 
reasonable being, not to allow to go to rust and lie dor- 
mant, the latent energies and native elements of his sys- 
tem, whereof his reason might one day make use. And 
even were he to rest contented with the measure of talent 
nature had endowed him with, as his birthright, still it 
ought to be upon grounds of reason, that he should in- 
struct such a remaining satisfied without so moderate a 
share of capacity ; for, being a person capable of design- 
ing ends, or of proposing himself to others as an end, he 
ought to stand indebted for the development and amelio- 
ration of his powers, not to any physical instinct of his 
system, but to his own liberty, whereby he freely decides 
how far he will carry them. This duty, then, is altogether 
independent on any advantages the culture of his facul- 
ties as means to ends may procure to him — for per- 
haps the advantage, according to Rousseau's views, might 
lie in the uncultivated roughness of a savage life->-but 
is founded on a commandment of ethico-active reason, 
and a duty imposed on man by himself to advance and 
ameliorate the condition of his humanity, according to 


the diversity of the ends assigned him, and to make him- 
self, in a practical point of view, adapted to the final des- 
tinies of his being. 

Powers of mind we call those faculties whose exer- 
cise is possible by force of reason singly. They are crea- 
tive, so far forth as their use is independent on experi- 
ence and observation, and rests on principles a priori. 
Some of their products are, the mathematics, logic, and 
metaphysic of ethics, which two last fall under the head 
of philosophy, viz. the speculative philosophy, where this 
word is taken, not to signify wisdom, as it ought to do, 
but only science; which last, however, may be subser- 
vient to advancing the ends of practical wisdom. 

Powers of soul, again, are those which stand at the 
command of the understanding, and of the rule this last 
prescribes in order to attain the end it designs, and so 
depend to a certain extent on observation and experience. 
Instances of such powers are, memory, imagination, and 
the like, from which learning, taste, the graces of out- 
ward and inward accomplishments take their rise, and 
which can be employed as instrumental to a vast variety 
of ends. 

Lastly, the culture of our bodily powers (gymnastic 
properly so called) is the caring for the stuff and materials 
of the man, apart from which instrument and engine, his 
ends could not be exerted into acts ; consequently, the in- 
tentional and regular revivifying of man's animal part is 
a duty owed by mankind to himself. 



Which of these natural perfections may he the more 
eligible, and in what proportion, when compared with the 
remainder, it may be his duty to design them as his ends, 
must be left to the private reflection of each individual, 
who will decide, according to his taste for this or that 
kind of life, and according to the estimate he may make 
of his ability, whether he should follow some handicraft, 
or a mercantile employment, or become a member of a 
learned profession. Because, over and above the neces- 
sity man stands in of providing for his livelihood, a ne- 
cessity which never can of itself beget any obligation, it 
is a duty owed by man to himself to make himself of use 
to the world; this belonging to the worth of the humani- 
ty he represents, and which therefore he ought not to de- 

But this duty owed by man to himself in regard of his 
physical perfection, is only of indeterminate obligation. 
Because the law ordains only the maxims of the action, 
not the act itself; and, in regard of this last, determines 
neither its kind nor its degree, but leaves a vast latitude 
for man's free choice to roam or settle in. 

§ 21. Of the Duty owed by Man to Himself of advancing 
his Ethical Perfection. 

This consists, first of all, subjectively^ in the purity of 
his moral sentiments, where, freed from all admixture of 
sensitive excitement, the law is itself alone the spring of 
conduct ; and actions are not only conformable to what is 


duty, but are performed because it is so, — be ye holy is 
here the commandment; — and, second, objectively ^ consists 
in attaining his whole and entire moral end, i. e. the exe- 
cution of his whole duty, and the final reaching of the 
goal placed before him as his mark, — the commandment 
here is, be ye perfect. The endeavour after this end is, 
in the case of mankind, never more than an advancement 
from one grade of ethical perfection to another. If there 
be any virtue, if there be any praise, that study and pursue. 


This duty towards one's self, is in its quality, determi- 
nate and strict ; but in degree it is of indeterminate obliga- 
tion, and that on account of the frailty of human nature ; 
for that perfection which it is our constant and incumbent 
duty to PURSUE, but never (at least in this life) to at- 
tain, and the obeying which, can by consequence, consist 
only in urging after it with an unfaultering and progres- 
sive step, is no doubt, in regard of the object (the idea to 
realize which, is end), detei*rainate, strict, and given; but 
in regard of the subject, is but a duty of indeterminate ob- 
ligation owed by mankind to himself. 

The depths of the human heart are inscrutible. Who 
has such an exact self-knowledge as to be able to say, 
when he feels the impelling force of duty, that the mobile 
of his will is swayed singly by the naked idea of the law, 
and to declare that other sensitive excitements may not 
work along side of it and pollute it, — such as by-views of 
advantage, or of avoiding harm ? — considerations which 
on occasion might serve the turn of vice. Again, as for 
that perfection which concerns the accomplishment of 


one's end, there can, it is true, be only one virtue objec- 
tively in idea, — the ethical strength of one's practical 
principles; but subjectively, in point of real fact and event, 
a vast number of virtues, of the most heterogeneous na- 
ture, amongst which it is not impossible some vice may 
lui'k, although it escapes observation, and is not so call- 
ed, on account of the virtues in whose company it ap- 
pears. But a sum of virtues, the completeness or defects 
of which no self-knowledge can accurately detect, can be- 
get only an indeterminate obligation to perfect our moral 

Whence we conclude, that all the moral duties, in re- 
spect of the ends of the humanity subsisting in our per- 
son, are duties of indeterminate obligation only. 








§ 23. 

The principal division of these obligations, may be 
made, into such duties as oblige our fellow-men, when we 
discharge them ; and, second^ into those which, when ob- 
served, entail upon the other no obligation of any sort. 
To fulfil the former is, in respect of others, meritorious; 
to fulfil the latter, of debt only. Love and reverence 
are the emotions, which go hand in hand, with our dis- 
charge of these two kinds of offices. These emotions may 
be considered separately, and in practice they may sub- 
sist, each for itself and apart from the other. Love of 


our neighbour may take place even while he deserve but 
little REVERENCE : as, on the contrary, reverence is 
due to every man, althougli deemed hardly worth our 
love. But, properly speaking, they are at bottom, in- 
separably united by the law, in every duty owed by us, to 
our neighbour ; but this in such a manner, that some- 
times the one emotion is the leading principle of the duty 
of the person, along with which, the other follows as its 
accessory. Thus we regard ourselves obliged to benefit 
the poor ; but because this favour would imply his de- 
pendence for his welfare on my generosity, a case which 
would be humiliating for the other, it becomes my far- 
ther duty so to behave to him who accepts .my gift, as to 
represent this benefit either as a bare incumbent duty 
upon my part, or as a trifling mark of friendship, and to 
spare the other such humiliation, and to uphold his self- 
reverence in its integrity. 


When we speak, not of laws of nature, but of laws of 
duty as regulating the external relation of man to man, 
we then regard ourselves in a cogitable ethic world, 
where, by analogy to the physical system, the combina- 
tion of Intelligents is figured to be effected by the joint 
action and re-action of attractive and repellent forces. 
By the principle of mutual love, they are destined for ever 
to APPROACH, and by that of reverence, to preserve their 
due ELONGATION from one another ; and were either of 
these mighty moral pririjeiples to be suspended, the moral 
system could not be upheld, and, unable to sustain itself 
against its own fury, would retrovert to chaos. 



But LOVE must not be here understood to mean an 
emotion of complacency in the perfection of other people, 
there being no obligation to entertain feelings ; but this 
love must be understood as the practical maxim of good- 
will, issuing in beneficence as its result. 

The same remark holds of the reverence to be de- 
monstrated towards others, which cannot be understood 
simply to mean, a feeling emerging from contrasting our 
own worth with that of another, — such as a child may feel 
for its parents, a pupil for his ward, or an inferior for his 
superior in raqk, — but must be taken to mean, the practi- 
cal maxim of circumscribing our own self-esteem, by the 
representation of the dignity of the humanity resident in 
the person of another ; that is, a practical reverence. 

This duty of the free reverence owed to other men is 
properly, negative only, viz. not to exalt ourselves above 
others. It is in this way analogous to the juridical duty 
^^ to do no wrong" and so might be taken for a strict and 
determinate obligation ; but, regarded as a moral duty, 
and a branch of the offices of charity, it is a duty of in- 
determinate obligation. 

The duty of loving my neighbour may be thus express- 
ed, — that it is the duty of making my own the ends and 
interests of others, in so far as these ends are not immo- 
ral. The duty of reverencing my neighbour is expressed 
in the formula, to lower no man to be a bare means in- 
strumental towards the attaining my own ends, i. e. not 
to expect from any man that he should abase himself to 
be the footstool of my views. 

By discharging the former duty, I at the same time ob- 


lige the other ; I make myself well-deserving of him. But 
by the observance of the latter I oblige only myself, and 
keep myself within ray own bounds, so as not to withdraw 
from the other any of that worth he is entitled as a man 
to put upon himself. 

§ 26. Of Philanthropy in general. 

The love of our fellow-men must, because we under- 
stand by it practical benevolence, be understood, not as a 
love of complacency in our species, but as a maxim ac- 
tively to befriend them. He who takes delight in the 
welfare of his fellows, considered merely as belonging to 
his own species, is a philanthropist, — a Friend of Man- 
kind in general. He who alone finds delight in the mi- 
sery and woes of his neighbour, is a misanthrope. An 
EGOTIST is he who beholds with indifference the good or 
the bad fortunes of his neighbour. While that person 
who shuns society because he is unable to regard his fel- 
lows with complacency, although he wishes them all well, 
would be an ^Esthetic misanthrope ; and his aversion 
from his kind might be called anthropophoby. 

§ 27. 

Whether mankind be found worthy of love or not, a 
practical principle of good-will (active philanthropy) is 
a duty mutually owed by all men to one another, accord- 
ing to the ethical precept of perfection, love thy neigh- 
bour as thyself; for every ethical relation obtaining be- 
tween man and man is a relation subsisting in the repre- 
sentation of pure reason, i. e. is a relation of mankind's 


free actions, according to maxims potentially fit for law 
universal, which maxims can therefore, in no event, be 
founded on an emotion of selfishness. The constitution of 
my nature forces me to desire and will every other person's 
benevolence ; wherefore, conversely, I am beholden to en- 
tertain good-will towards others ; but, again, because all 
others, except myself, are not all mankind, a maxim ex- 
pressing my active good-will towards all others, would 
want the absolute universality whereby alone the law has 
ethical virtue to oblige ; consequently the ethical law of 
benevolence must include my own person likewise with 
others, as the object of the commandment announced by 
practical reason : — which is not to say, that I thereby be- 
come obliged to love myself, such self-love obtaining of its 
own accord, and inevitably, but states, that legislative 
reason, which embraces in its idea of humanity the whole 
race (t. e. me likewise), includes in its universal legisla- 
tion, myself likewise, under the duty of reciprocal bene- 
volence ; and so renders it allowed for me to wish well 
to myself, under the condition that I cherish good-will 
towards every other person ; my maxim being thus alone 
fitted for law universal, whereon is based every law of 
duty whatsoever. 


The good-will expressed in universal philanthropy, is 
extensively the greatest possible, but intensively (in degree) 
the most contracted ; and to say of any one, that he is 
interested in the welfare of his neighbour, as a general 
philanthropist, is to say, that the interest he takes in him 
is just the smallest possible, — he is merely not indifferent. 


But of my fellows, one stands nearer to me than ano- 
ther ; and, so far as good-will is concerned, I am nearest 
to myself: how does this harmonise with the formula, 
*' iMve thy neighbour as thyself?" If one is more my neigh- 
bour (nearer to me in the obligation of benevolence) than 
another, and I thus am bound to more benevolence to- 
ward one person than toward another, and am, more- 
over, nearer to myself than to any other person ; then it 
would appear, that it cannot without contradiction be 
asserted that I ought to love all others as myself; this mea- 
sure, self-love, admitting no difference of degree. The 
smallest reflection, however, shows that the benevolence 
here intended, is not a bare wish, which last is properly 
an acquiescence in the happiness of my neighbour, while 
I myself contribute nothing towards it, according to the 
adage, — Every one for himself God for us all; but that we 
have to understand an active practical beneficence, which 
makes the welfare of others its end : and so in wishes 
I may have an equal kind intent to all, while actively the 
degree may be carried to any extent or measure, accord- 
ing to the difference of the beloved persons, some of 
whom may stand nearer to me than others, and all this 
without violating the absolute universality of the maxim. 



A. Of the Duty of Beneficence. 

To enjoy the bounties of fortune, so far as may be need- 
ful to find life agreeable, and to take care of one's animal 
part, but short of effeminacy and luxury, is a duty incum- 
bent on us to ourselves ; the contrary of which would be, 
sottishly to deprive one's self of the bounties of fortune, — 
either out of avarice, servilely, or out of an outrageous 
discipline of one's natural appetites, fanatically, — things 
both of which are repugnant to the duty owed by man- 
kind to himself. 

But how comes it, that, over and above the benevolent 
wish, which costs me nothing, my fellows are entitled to 
expect that this wish should become practical, and be 
exerted into action, that is, how can we evince that be- 
neficence is due to the necessitous, from him who is pos- 
sessed of means empowering him to become kind. Bene- 
volence or good-will is the pleasure we take in the pros- 
perity and happiness of our neighbour: beneficence, again, 
would be the maxim to make that happiness our end ; 
and the duty to do so, is necessitation by the subject's 
own reason, to adopt this maxim as his universal law. 

It is by no means evident, that any such law is origi- 
nated by reason ; on the contrary, it would seem, that the 
maxim, " Every one for himself God for us all,^' were far 
more natural. -n 



§ 30. 

To deal kindly toward our brethren of mankind who 
are in distress, without hoping- for any thing in return, 
and to aid them in extricating themselves out of it, is a 
mutual duty incumbent on us all. 

For, every one who himself is in difficulties, desires to 
be aided by other men ; but if, on the contrary, he were 
to make the rule general, not to succour others when dis- 
tressed, then would every one refuse, or at least be en- 
titled, when such a law were announced as of catholic ex- 
tent, to refuse to him all assistance ; that is, a selfish prin- 
ciple of this kind, would, when elevated to the rank of 
law universal, be self-contradictory and self-destructive, 
that is, would be contrary to duty ; whence, conversely, 
we hold the social principle of mutual and joint assist- 
ance to one another in case of need, an universal duty 
owed by man to man : for, as fellow-beings, i. e. neces- 
sitous (by the finite constitution of their natures), they 
ought to consider themselves as stationed in this one dwell- 
ing to be fellow- workers to one another. 


Beneficence, where a man is rich, i. e. enjoys the 
means of happiness to superfluity and beyond his own 
wants, is to be looked upon by the benefactor, not even 
as a meritorious duty, although his neighbour be obliged 
by it. The pleasure which he procures to himself, and 
which, after all, costs him no sacrifice, is a kind of moral 
luxury. He must likewise studiously avoid all appear- 
ance of intending to oblige the other by this means, be- 


cause, otherwise, it would not be truly a benefit done to, 
but an obligation thrust upon, his neighbour, to come'un- 
der which, must needs make the latter stand a grade lower 
in his own eyes. He ought rather so to carry himself, 
as if he were the obliged and honoured by his neighbour's 
acceptance of his kindness, that is, he ought so to figure 
to himself, and so to represent the favour, as if it were of 
mere debt, and rather, when possible, exercise his good 
deeds quite in private. This virtue might deserve a yet 
greater name, when the ability to give benefits is curtail- 
ed, and the soul of the benefactor is so strong as to take 
upon himself, in silence, the evils which he spares the 
other from undergoing ; a case where he must be deemed 
ethically wealthy. 

Casuistics. — How far ought the outlay expended by 
any one in deeds of charity to be carried ? Surely not till 
we ourselves came to stand in need of our friends' gene- 
rosity ? What may a benefit be worth, offered to us by a 
dead hand in his testament ? Does he who uses the right 
conferred upon him by the law of the land, of robbing 
some one of his freedom, and then making the other happy, 
according to his own notions of enjoyment ; can, I say, 
such a man be regarded as a benefactor, in consequence 
of the parental care he may take of his slave's welfare ? 
or is not the unrighteousness of bereaving any one of his 
freedom so grave a violation of the rights of man, that all 
the advantages his master could bestow, would cease to 
deserve the name of kindness ? or can he become so well- 
deserving of his slave by kindness, as to counteract and re- 
deem theviolation committed by him against his slave's per- 
son? It is impossible that I can act kindly toward any other 
(infants and madmen excepted) by force of my idea of his 


happiness, but only by studying his ideas of welfare, to 
whom I wish to exhibit my affection, no kindness being 
truly shown when I thrust upon him a present without 
his will. 

B. Of the Duty of Gratitude. 

Gratitude is the venerating of another on account of a be- 
nefit we have received from him; the sentiment or emo- 
tion which goes hand in hand with such a judgment, is 
that of reverence toward the benefactor we are beholden 
to ; whereas this other stands toward the receiver in the 
relationship of love. A mere heart-felt generous good- will 
toward another, for a kindness shown us, even apart from 
any demonstrated regard, deserves the name of a moral 
duty ; and this would indicate a distinction betwixt an 
affectionate gratitude and an active thankfulness for a 

Gratitude is a duty, i. e. not a mere maxim of prudence, 
to engage my benefactor to yet greater degrees of kind- 
ness, by professing my obligation for what he has already 
done ; for that would be to use him as a means toward 
my by-ends; but gratitude is immediately made neces- 
sary by the moral law, i. e. it is a duty. 

But gratitude must be regarded still further as a sacred 
duty, i. e. as such a duty, which to violate, would be to 
extinguish the moral principles of benevolence, even in 
their source; for that ethical object is sacrosanct and 
holy, in regard of whom, the obligation can never be ade- 
quately acquitted and discharged (that is, where the per- 
son who is indebted must always stand under the obliga- 
tion). All other is only ordinary and vulgar duty. But 


there is no retribution which can acquit a person of a con- 
ferred benefit, the benefactor having always the good-de- 
sert of being first in the benevolence, an advantage which 
the receiver cannot take away. However, even without 
any active returns, a bare cordial good-will toward the be- 
nefactor is of itself a kind of gratitude; in this state of 
mind, we say that a person is grateful. 


As for the extent of gratitude, it is not by any means 
confined to contemporaries, but goes back to our ances- 
tors, even to those whom we cannot certainly name. And 
this is the reason why it is considered indecorous not to 
defend the ancients as much as possible, against all at- 
tacks, invective, and slights ; the ancients being here con- 
sidered as our teachers ; althougli it were a ridiculous 
opinion to grant to them any superiority over the moderns, 
merely on account of their antiquity, either in their talents 
or in their kind intentions toward humanity, and to disre- 
gard what is new, in comparison of what is old, as if the 
world were continually declining from its primitive per- 

§ 34. 

But as to the intensity of this duty, i. e. the degree in 
which we may be obliged to this virtue, that is to be esti- 
mated by the advantage we have derived from the benefit, 
and the disinterestedness which prompted the benefactor to 
bestow it on us, the least degree of gratitude would be, 
when our benefactor is alive, to repay to him the identic 


service performed for us, or, when be is no more, to show 
like services to others. In all which, we must take good 
heed not to regard the benefit as a burden we would wil- 
lingly be rid of and discharge, but rather to hold and to 
accept of the occasion as an ethical advantage, i. e. as an 
opportunity afforded us to exercise and practise this virtue 
of gratitude, which does, by combining the ardour of bene- 
volence with its tenderness (perpetual unremitted atten- 
tion to the minutest shades of this duty), invigorate the 
growth of philanthropy. 

C. Of the Duty of Sympathy. 

To have a fellow-feeling with the joys and sorrows of 
our friends, is no doubt a physical emotion only ; and is 
an aesthetic susceptibility of pleasure or pain, on perceiv- 
ing these states obtain in another. There arises, however, 
from this disposition of our nature, a particular, but only 
conditionate duty, called humanity, to cultivate and em- 
ploy these physical springs as means of advancing an ef- 
fective and rational benevolence. The duty is called hu- 
manity, man being now regarded, not as a reasonable 
being, but as an animal endowed with reason. This sym- 
pathy may be regarded either as seated in the will and 
the ability to communicate to one another what we feel, 
or as seated in that physical susceptibility, which nature 
has implanted in us, for feeling in common the delights or 
misery of our neighbour. The former is free or liberal, 
and depends on practical reason ; the second is unfree and 
illiberal, as in pity, and may be called contagious, — like 
a susceptibility for heat or for distempers. The obligation 
extends to the former only. 



It was a lofty cogitation of the Stoic sages, when they said, 
I would wish I had a friend, not to assist me in poverty, 
sickness, captivity, and so on, but whom I might be able 
to assist and rescue : and yet this very Sage again thus 
speaks, when the case of his friend is gone past remedy, 
what concern is it of mine ? i. e. he rejected pity. 

And, in truth, when another suffers, and I allow my- 
self to be infected by his sorrow, which, however, I can- 
not mitigate nor avert, then two persons suffer, although 
naturally the evil affects one singly ; and it is quite in- 
conceivable that it can be any one's duty to augment the 
physical evils in the world ; and consequently there can 
be no obligation to act kindly out of pity. There is 
likewise an offensive variety of this pity, called mercy, 
by which is meant that kind of benevolence shown to the 
unworthy ; but such an expression of benevolence ought 
never to take place betwixt man and man, no one being 
entitled to boast of his worthiness to be happy. 


But although it is no direct duty to take a part in the 
joy or grief of others, yet to take an active part in their lot 
is ; and so by consequence an indirect duty, to cultivate 
the sympathetic affections, and to make them serve as in- 
struments enabling us to discharge the offices of a hu- 
mane mind, upon ethical principles. Thus it is a duty 
not to avoid the receptacles of the poor, in order to save 
ourselves an unpleasant feeling, but rather to seek them 
out. Neither ought we to desert the chambers of the 
sick, nor the cells of the debtor, in order to escape the 
])ainful sympathy we might be unable to repress, this emo- 


tion being a spring implanted in us by nature, prompting 
to tbe discharge of duties, which the naked representa- 
tions of reason might be unable to accomplish. 

Casuistical Question. — Would it not be better for 
the world if all morality and obligation were restricted to 
the forensic duties, and charity left among the adiapho- 
RA? It is not easy to foresee what effect such a rule 
might have on human happiness. But, in this event, 
the world would want its highest ethical decoration — 
charity — which does by itself alone, even abstractedly 
from all its advantages, represent the world as one fair 
moral whole. 



These vices form the detestable family of envy, in- 
gratitude, and MALICE ; but the hate is in these vices 
not open and A'iolent, but veiled and secret ; and so, to the 
forgetfulness of one's duty toward one's neighbour, su- 
peradds meannesSi that is, a violation of wliat a man owes 
to himself. 

A. Envy is the propensity to perceive the welfare of 
our neighbour with a grudge, even though our own hap- 
piness does not suffer by it, and, when it rises to the ex- 
treme of tempting any one actively to diminish his neigh- 
bour's happiness, is the highest and most aggravated kind 
of envy, although otherwise it is most commonly no more 
than JEALOUSY, and is only indirectly a wicked senti- 


ment, viz. an ill-will at finding our own happiness cast 
into the shade by the surpassing prosperity of our neigh- 
bour ; and is a displeasure arising from not knowing how 
to estimate our own advantages, by their own intrinsic 
worth, but singly by comparing them with those enjoyed 
by others ; from hence come the expressions, the enviable 
concord and happiness of a married pair, or of a family, 
just as if these were cases where it were quite allowed to 
envy. The mov^ements of envy are implanted in the hu- 
man heart, and it is only their utterance, which can raise 
it, to the shocking and disgraceful spectacle of a peevish, 
self- tormenting passion, which aims, in its inward wish, at 
the destruction and ruin of the good fortune of another, — 
a vice alike contrary to what is due from us to our neigh- 
bour and to ourselves. 

B. Ingratitude towards one's benefactor is, according 
to the common judgment of mankind, one of the most 
odious and hateful vices ; and yet our species is so noto- 
rious for it, that every one holds it for likely that he may 
create himself enemies by his benefits. The ground of 
the possibility of such a vice, lies in the misunderstood 
duty owed to one's self, not to come to need, or to sum- 
mon up, others to assist us, which lays us under obligation 
to them ; but rather to support alone, the calamities of 
life, than to pester our friends with them, and so to stand 
in their debt, which places us to others in the rela- 
tion of clients to a patron, a state subversive of a man's 
proper self-estimation. And this is the reason why gra- 
titude to those who have been by necessity before us and 
our antecessors, is always generously expressed : but scan- 
tily to our contemporaries ; or why even sometimes we 
invert the latter relation, and show the contrary of grati- 


306 or THE VICES 

tude, to make insensible the unequal obligation. How- 
ever, this is a vice at which humanity always revolts, not 
only on account of the prejudice, which such an example 
must entail, by deterring mankind from benevolence (for 
this benevolence would, when the ethic sentiment is pure, 
be only so much the more worth, when disdaining even this 
hope of recompense), but because the duties of philanthropy 
are inverted, and the want of love is transmuted to a title 
to hate those by whom we have been first beloved. 

C. Malice is the exact counterpart of sympathy, and 
denotes joy at the sorrow of another ; nor is it any stran- 
ger to our frame ; but it is only when it goes so far as to 
do ill, or to assist the miscreant in executing his nefarious 
designs, that it appears in all its horrors, and presents the 
finished form of misanthropy, or the hatred of our 
SPECIES. It is quite inevitable, by the laws of imagination, 
not to feel more vividly our own welfare or good deport- 
ment, when the miseries or the scandalous behaviour of 
others, serve as a foil to set off the brighter hues of our 
own state ; but to find immediate joy in the existence of 
such portentous disasters as subvert the general welfare of 
our kind, or to wish that such enormities should happen, 
is an inward hate of mankind, and the veriest anti-part of 
the offices of charity which are incumbent on us. The 
insolence of some upon uninterrupted prosperity, and their 
arrogancy upon their good deportment (properly upon their 
good fortune, to have escaped seduction to any public 
vice), both which advantages the selfish imputes to him- 
self as his deserts, are the causes productive of this miser- 
able joy on their reverse of fortune, a joy quite opposed 
to the sympathetic maxim of honest Chremes, "/«m a mauy 
and I take an interest in all that relates to inankind," 


Of this joy in tlie misery of another, there is a sort 
which is at once the sweetest, and which seems even to rest 
on some title of justice, nay, where it would appear that 
we stood under an obligation to pursue the misery of an- 
other as our end, abstracting from all views of our own 
advantage, and that is the case of the desire for vengeance. 

Every act violating the rights of man deserves punish- 
ment, by which the sufferer is not only indemnified, but 
where the crime itself is avenged upon the transgressor. 
Punishment, however, is no act emanating from the pri- 
vate authority of the injured, but from that of a tribunal 
different from himself, which gives effect to the Laws of a 
Sovereign to whom all are subject ; so that when we con- 
sider mankind as in a society (as Ethic demands of us) 
combined, not by civil laws, but by laws of reason sing- 
ly, it remains that no one can be entitled to decern a pu- 
nishment, and to avenge the insults received from man- 
kind, except He who is the Supreme moral Lawgiver ; 
and He alone, i.e.GoB, can say, " Vengeance is mine; I will 
repay. ^' Upon this account it is a moral duty, not only 
not to pursue with avenging hatred the aggressions of 
another, but even not to summon up the Judge of the 
World to vengeance ; partly because man has himself so 
much guilt as to stand too much in need of pardon ; and 
also partly and principally because no vengeance or punish- 
ment ought to be inflicted out of hatred. Placability 
is therefore a duty owed by man to man, which, however, 
is not to be confounded with a soft tolerance of injuries. 
This last consists in abstaining from employing rigorous 
means to obviate the continued provocations offered us by 
others ; and would be an abandonment of one's rights, 
and a violation of the duty owed by man to himself. 


Remark. — All those vices which make human natm*e 
hateful when they are practised upon system, are objec- 
tively inhuman; but, subjectively, experience teaches us 
that they belong to our species. So that though some people 
may, from their extreme horror of them, have called such 
vices DEVILISH, and the opposite virtues angelic, yet such 
notions express only a maximum, used as a standard, in 
order to compare the particular grade of morality an ac- 
tion has, by assigning to man his place in heaven or in hell, 
without allowing a middle station betwixt either for him 
to occupy. Whether Haller has hit it better, when he 
speaks of man being an ambiguous mongrel betwixt angel 
and brute, I shall here leave undecided ; but to halve or 
strike averages when comparing heterogeneous things, 
gives birth to no definite conception ; and nothing can as- 
sist us in classifying beings, according to the unknown 
differences of their ranks. The first division into angelic 
virtues and devilish vices is exaggerated, the second is ob- 
jectionable ; for though mankind do, alas ! sometimes fall 
into brutal vices, yet that is no ground for assigning to 
their vices, a root peculiar to our species, as little as the 
stunting of some trees in the forest, justifies us in taking 
them for a particular kind of shrub. 



Moderation in one's pretensions, i. e. the voluntary cir- 
cumscription of a man's own self-love by the self-love of 
others, is modesty or discreetness. The wantof this mo- 


deration in regard of the demands we make to be loved by 
others, is self-love ; but this indiscreetness in pretend- 
ing to the consideration of others, is self-conceit. The 
reverence I entertain toward any one, or that observance 
which another may demand from me, is the recognition and 
acknowledgment of a dignity in the person of another ; 
i. e. of a worth exalted beyond all price, and admitting no 
equivalent, in exchange for which the object of my esti- 
mation could be bartered. The judgment that somewhat 
is possessed of no worth at all, is contempt. 


Every man may justly pretend to be reverenced by his 
fellows, and he ought in turn to accord to them his. 
Humanity is itself a Dignity ; for no man can be employed, 
neither by others nor by himself, as a mere instrument, 
but is always to be regarded as an end ; in which point, in 
fact, his Dignity, i. e. his Personality consists, and where 
he stands pre-eminent over all other creatures in the world, 
— not of his kind, and which yet may be used, and stand 
at his command. And as he cannot dispose of himself for 
any price (which would be subversive of his own self- 
reverence), neither is he at liberty to derogate from the 
equally necessary self-reverence of others as men, i. e. he 
is obliged practically to recognise the Dignity of 
every other man's Humanity, and so stands under a duty 
based on that reverential observance, which is necessarily 
to be demonstrated towards every other person. 



To DESPISE others, i. e. to refuse them that reverence we 
owe to mankind at large, is, in any event, contrary to duty: 
to think but little of them, when compared with others, is 
sometimes inevitable, but externally to demonstrate such 
disregard, is at all times offensive. What thing soever is 
dangerous, is no object of disregard, and consequently the 
vicious is not so ; and if my superiority to his attacks 
should authorize me to say I despise him, the only mean- 
ing such words can have is, that there is no danger to be 
apprehended from him, even though I take no precau- 
tions, because he shows himself in his full deformity. 
Nevertheless, I am not entitled to refuse, even to the vi- 
cious, all consideration in his capacity as a man, this last 
being inalienable, although the other make himself un- 
worthy of it. Hence it comes that some punishments are 
to be reprobated, as dishonouring Humanity (such are 
drawing and quartering, to be devoured by wild beasts, 
demembration of the eyes and ears), which are often more 
grievous to the unhappy sufferer, than the loss of goods 
and life, on account of the afflicting degradation they im- 
port (and impeding his pretending to the reverence of 
others, which indeed every man must do) ; and they also 
make the spectator blush, to know that he belongs to a 
race, which some dare to treat in such a manner. 

Note. — Upon this is founded a duty of reverence for 
man, even in the logical use of reason; viz. not to repre- 
hend his blunders under the name of absurdities, not to say 
that they are inept, but rather to suppose that there must 
be something true at bottom in them, and to endeavour 
to find out what this is : to which would be attached the 


still further duty, of exerting ourselves to discover the 
false appearance by which the other was misled {i. e. the 
subjective of the judgment, which by mistake was taken 
for objective), and thus, by explaining to him the ground 
of his error, to uphold for him his reverence for his own 
understanding. And truly, when we deny all sense to an 
adversary, how can we expect to convince him that he is 
in the wrong. The same remark holds of the reproach of 
vice, which ought never to be allowed to rise to a com- 
plete contempt of the vicious, so as to refuse him all moral 
worth; this being a hypothesis according to which he 
never could redintegrate his moral character, — a state- 
ment repugnant to the very idea of a man, who being, as 
such, a moral being, can never lose the originary substra- 
tum for a good will. 

§ 40. 

Reverence for law, which subjectively was styled the 
moral sense, is identic with what is called the sense of 
duty ; and this is the reason why the demonstration of re- 
verence toward mankind, as a moral agent (highly vene- 
rating the Law), is a duty owed by others towards him, 
and, in his case, a right which he cannot abdicate. The 
standing upon this right, is called the love of honour, and 
the expression of it, in one's external conduct, is deco- 
rum : — the infraction whereof is what is called " scandaly^' 
and is a disregard of this right, which may be followed as 
an example by others, whence it is highly reprehensible 
to give any such ; although, to take such scandal, at 
what is merely paradoxical, and a mere deviation from 
the common fashion, is a mere fantastic whim mistaking 


the uncommon for the disallowed, and an error highly 
prejudicial and perilous to virtue. For, the reverence due 
to others, who display by their conduct an example, ought 
never to degenerate into a mere servile copying of their 
manners (which would be to raise a custom into the autho- 
rity of a law), a tyranny of the popular use and wont, al- 
together subversive of the duty owed by man to himself. 

§ 41. 

To omit the offices of charity, is merely non-virtue 
(a fault) ; but to neglect the duties founded on the incum- 
bent reverence due to every man whatsoever, is a vice. 
When the first are disregarded, no one is offended ; but 
by the breach of the latter, the just rights of mankind are 
affected : the one is merely negative of virtue ; but that 
which not only is no moral acquisition, but which abolish- 
es that worth which ought otherwise to belong to the sub- 
ject, is vice. Upon this account, the duties owed toward 
one's neighbour, in respect of the reverence he is entitled 
to challenge, admit of a negative enunciation only ; i, e. 
this moral duty is expressed indirectly, by forbidding its 


These Vices are, A. Pride ; B. Backbiting ; C. Sneering, 

Pride (superbia), i. e. the thirst to be always upper- 
most, is a kind of ambition, where we impute to others, 


that they will think meanly of themselves when contrast- 
ed with us, and is a vice subverting that reverence for 
which every man has a legal claim. 

Pride differs entirely from "^er^," considered as a love 
of honour, i. e. care to abate nothing of one's dignity as 
a man, when compared with others; and which ^er^^ is on 
that account often spoken of as noble, for the proud de- 
mands from others a reverence which he refuses to return 
them. But this j^er^ becomes faulty, and even insulting, 
when it presumes, that others will occupy themselves with 
its importance. 

That PRIDE is UNJUST is manifest of itself; for it is a 
courting of followers by the ambitious, whom he deems 
himself entitled to handle contemptuously, and so is re- 
pugnant to the reverence due to humanity in general. It 
is also FOLLY, since it uses means to attain somewhat as an 
end, which is nowise worth being followed as such. Nay, 
it is even stupidity, i. e. an insult upon common sense, to 
use such means as must produce directly the contrary 
eflFect ; since every man refuses his reverence to the proud, 
the more the haughty endeavours after it. But it is 
perhaps not quite so obvious that the proud is always, at 
the bottom of his soul, mean and abject ; for he never could 
impute to others, that they would think lightly of them- 
selves in comparison with him, were he not inwardly con- 
scious that, on a reverse of fortune, he would have no 
diflSculty to sneak in his turn, and to renounce every pre- 
tension to be reverenced by others. 


§ 43. B. Detraction. 

To speak evil of one's neighbour, or backbiting, by 
which I do not mean calumny, a verbal injury which 
might be prosecuted before a court of justice, but by 
which I understand the appetite (apart from any particu- 
lar purpose) to spread about reports to the disparagement 
of the reverence due to others, is contrary to the reve- 
rence owed to mankind in general ; because every scandal 
we give, weakens this reverence, on which emotion how- 
ever, depends the spring toward the moral-good, and in 
fact tends to make people disbelieve in its existence. 

The studied and wilful propagation of any what, im- 
peaching the honour of another (not made judicially be- 
fore a court), even allowing it were quite true, diminishes 
the reverence due to mankind at large, and goes to throw 
upon our species a shadow of worthlessness, and tends 
finally to make misanthropy or contempt the ruling 
cast of thinking mankind entertain for one another, and 
blunts away the moral sense, by habituating the person 
to the contemplation of scenes and anecdotes of his neigh- 
bour's vileness. It is therefore a duty, instead of a ma- 
lignant joy, in exposing the faults of others, so as thereby 
to establish one's self in the opinion of being as good, at 
least not worse, than others ; to cast, on the contrary, a 
veil of charity over the faults of others, not merely by 
softening our judgments, but by altogether suppressing 
them ; because examples of reverence bestowed on others 
may excite the endeavour to deserve it. Upon this self- 
same account the spying and prying into the customs 
and manners of others, is an insulting pretext to a know- 
ledge of the world, and of mankind, against which, every 


man may justly set himself, as violating the reverence due 

§ 44. C. Scorn. 

The propensity to exhibit others as objects of ridicule, 
SNEERING {persiflage) i. e. the making the faults of others 
the immediate object of one's amusement, is wickedness, 
and quite diflPerent from jesting, where, amid familiar 
friends, certain peculiarities of one of their number are 
laughed at, but not to scorn ; but to exhibit, as the object 
of ridicule, one's real faults, or, still more, alleged faults, 
as were they real, with the intent of depriving any one of 
the reverence due to his person, and the propensity to do 
so by biting sarcasm, is a sort of diabolic pleasure, and 
is so much the graver a violation of the duty of reverence 
owed toward other people. 

Contradistinguished from this, is the jocose retortion, 
nay even the sarcastic retortion, of the insolent attacks of 
an adversary, where the «neerer (or generally a mali- 
cious but impotent antagonist) is sneered down in return, 
and is a just defence of that ^verence we are entitled to 
exact from the other. But when the topic is no object 
of wit, and one in which reason takes an ethical interest, 
then it is better, no matter how much soever the adver- 
sary may have sneered, and so have exposed many points 
for ridicule and sarcasm, and is also more conformable 
to the dignity of the matter, and to the reverence due to- 
ward humanity, either to make no defence at all against 
the attack, or otherwise to conduct it with dignity and 

Note. — It will be observed, that in the foregoing chap- 


ter, it is not virtues that are insisted on, but rather the 
contrary vices which have been reprehended ; and this 
arises from the very notion of reverence, which, as we are 
bound to demonstrate it towards others, is but a negative 
duty singly ; I am not obliged to revere others (regarded 
simply as men), i. e. to pay them positive veneration. The 
whole reverence to which I am naturally beholden is to- 
ward the law ; to observe which law and its reverence, 
in my intercourse with my fellow-men, is a universal and 
unconditionate duty, although it is not to entertain posi- 
tive reverence toward other men in general, nor to be- 
stow upon them any such ; whereas the other, viz. the ne- 
gative, is the originary reverence owed to, and challenge- 
able from whomsoever. The reverence to be demonstrat- 
ed to others, according to their diflferent qualities and 
various accidental relations, such as age, sex, descent, 
strength or fragility, and those things which mainly rest 
on arbitrary institutions, cannot be expounded at length, 
nor classed in the metaphysic principles of ethics, since 
here we study singly the pure principles of reason. 

§ 45. 


This chapter, consisting of a single paragraph, is omit- 
ted as immaterial. 




§ 46. Of the Intimate Blending of Lave with Reverence in 

Friendship, regarded in its perfection, is tlie union of 
two persons by mutual equal love and reverence. It is 
then an Ideal of sympathy and of fellow-feeling, in weal 
or woe, betwixt the reciprocally united by their ethical 
good- will ; and if it do not effectuate the whole happiness 
of life, still the adopting such a double of good-will, into 
both their sentiments, comprehends in it, a worthiness to 
become so ; whence it results, that to seek friendship, is 
a duty. 

But although friendBhip, as a maximum of reciprocal 
kind intent, is no vulgar and common, but an honourable 
duty, proposed to us by reason : still it is easy to see, that 
an entire friendship, is a naked, although a practically ne- 
cessary idea, and unattainable in any given circumstances. 
For how can any man exactly measure and adjust the 
due proportion obtaining between the duty of reverence 
and that of love toward his friend ? For, should the one 
party become more fervent in love, then he must dread 
lest he sink upon that very account in the reverence of 
the other. How can it then be reasonably expected, that 
both the friends should bring into a due equipoise, that 
love 'and esteem which are required to constitute this 
virtue ? The one principle is attractive, the other repel- 
lent ; so that the former ordains approximation, while the 



latter demands that a decorous distance be maintained, 
a limitation of intimacy expressed in the well-known rule, 
" that even the very best friends must not make them- 
selves too familiar;" and which conveys a maxim, valid not 
only for the superior towards the inferior, but also vice 
versa ; for the superior finds his dignity encroached on 
unadvisedly, and might perhaps willingly wish the reve- 
rence of his inferior suspended for the instant, but never 
abrogated, which, if once injured, is irrecoverably gone 
for ever, even though the old ceremonial be re-established 
on the former footing. 

Friendship, therefore, in its purity and entirety, figured 
to be attainable, as between Orestes and Pylades, Theseus 
and Pirithous, is the hobby of novel-writers; whereas 
Aristotle has said, Alas ! my friends, there is no friend- 
ship. The following remarks may serve to point out the 
difficulties encumbering it. 

Viewed ethically, it is doubtless a duty, that one friend 
make the other aware of his faults, for that is for his good, 
and so is one of the offices of charity; but his other half 
discovers in this, a want of reverence, and fears that he 
has already sunk in this esteem, or at least is apprehen- 
sive, since he is scrutinised and censured, that this danger 
is close at hand ; nay, that he is watched and observed by 
his friend, appears to him already akin to insult. 

A friend in need, how desirable is he not ? that is, when 
he is an active fi'iend, ready to help out of his own re- 
sources and exertion. It is, however, a grievous burden 
to be chained to the destiny of another, and to go laden 
with a foreign sorrow. Upon this account, friendship is 
not a union intended for mutual and reciprocal advantage; 
but this union must be purely moral, and the assistance 


either may count upon from the other, in case of need, 
cannot be held the end and motive towards it, for then 
the one party would forfeit the reverence of the other ; this 
help can only be undei'stood to signify and denote the out- 
ward mark of their inward hearty good-will, without ever 
suffering it to be put to trial, which is dangerous ; each 
friend magnanimously endeavouring to spare his counter- 
part any burden, and not only to support it all alone 
himself, but farther, altogether to hide and conceal it 
from his view, while he at the same time can always flat- 
ter himself, that in an exigency he could confidently call 
for aid on the other. But when the one accepts a benefit 
from the other, then he may count on an equality in their 
love, but not in their reverence ; for he plainly stands one 
grade lower, being indebted, and unable to oblige in re- 

Friendship is, on account of the sweetness of the sen- 
sation arising from the mutual possession of one another, 
approaching indeed almost to a melting together, some- 
what so exceedingly tender, that when it is hung upon 
feelings, it is not secure a single instant from interrup- 
tion, but demands for its guard that the mutual surren- 
der and confidence, be conducted upon principles or firm 
rules circumscribing love by demands of reverence. Such 
interruptions are frequent among the uneducated, which 
yet do not produce any rupture (for biting and scratching 
is common folks' wooing) ; they cannot let each other 
alone, and yet cannot bring themselves into harmony, the 
very rupture being wanted to sustain the intimacy, and 
give a relish to the sweetness of reconciliation. At all 
events, the love of friendship cannot be impassioned ; for 
this is blind, and in the sequel evaporates. 



Moral friendship, as contradistinguished from the ses- 
thetical, is the entire confidence of two people, who reci- 
procally impart to one another their private opinions and 
emotions, so far as such surrender can consist with the 
reverence due from one to the other. 

Man is destined for society, although in part unsocial ; 
and in his progress through life, he feels the mighty need 
to confide himself to others, and that without having any 
farther end in view. On the other hand, he is warned to 
fear the misuse others might make of this disclosure of 
his sentiments, and so sees himself compelled to lock up 
within himself a good deal of the judgments he forms, 
particularly with regard to other men. He would fain con- 
verse with others relative to their opinions of the govern- 
ment, religion, and what they think of the society he 
mixes in ; but he dare not hazard it, for others, by cauti- 
ously concealing their sentiments, might employ his to 
his disadvantage. He would willingly unbosom to ano- 
ther his wants, defects, errors, and faults ; but he must 
dread that that other would conceal Ais, and that he might 
forfeit that other's reverence, were he to disclose his si- 
tuation candidly. 

So that if he find a man who has good sentiments and 
understanding, and to whom he can open up his heart 
unreservedly, without apprehending that danger, and who 
generally falls in with his way of thinking, then he may 
give vent to his thoughts. He is no longer alone, im- 
prisoned with his opinions, but goes forth to enjoy free- 
dom, which he is precluded from, amidst the great mass of 
people. Every -one has secrets, and dare not blindly in- 


trust himself to others, partly owing to the ignoble cast of 
thinking of the most, who would abuse the secret against his 
interests, and partly owing to the want of understanding 
of many, i. e. their indiscretion, and being unable to dis- 
criminate betwixt what things are fit to be repeated and 
what not. Now it is exceedingly seldom to find those 
qualities together in the same Subject, especially since 
friendship demands that this intelligent and intimate friend 
deem himself obliged not to communicate the secret he has 
been intrusted with, to any other, how trust-worthy so- 
ever he may think him, at least without the consent of the 

Notwithstanding all this, the pure moral friendship is 
no ideal, but is to be found extant here and there, in its 
perfection. But that intermeddling friendship which mo- 
lests itself with the ends of other men, even though it does 
so out of love, can have neither the purity nor that en- 
tireness, which is indispensable towards a defined maxim, 
and is only an ideal in wish, which, in cogitation, it is true, 
has no bounds, but must in observation and experience 
shrink within a very narrow compass. 

A FRIEND OF MAN, is he wlio takes an aesthetic parti- 
cipation in the welfare of his race, and who never will dis- 
turb it, but with inward regret. This phrase, however, 
FRIEND OF MAN, is more limited than that of a philan- 
thropist, for the FRIEND cherishes the representation of 
the equality of his species, and has at least the idea of 
becoming indebted to them, even while he obliges them, 
where he figures to himself all mankind as brethren un- 
der a common Father, who wills their joint and common 
happiness. For the relation of protector, as benefactor, 
relatively to the protected, is no doubt one of love, but 


not of friendship, the reverence due from each to other 
not being alike. The duty to cherish good-will to 
MANKIND AS THEIR FRIEND (a neccssary condescension), 
and the laying to heart of this duty, serves as a guard 
against pride, which is tx>o apt to invade the prosperous, 
who possess the resources of good deeds. 



It is a duty both to one's self and to others to bring his 
ethical accomplishments into society, and not to isolate 
himself; to make, no doubt, himself still the immoveable 
centre of his own principles, but then he ought to regard 
this circle which he has drawn around him as capable of 
expansion, till it swell to the size of the most cosmopoliti- 
cal spirit, not in order immediately to advance the end of 
the whole world, but only to advance the means which in- 
directly tend thitherwards, viz. urbanity of manners, so- 
ciability, aifability, and decorum, and so to accompany the 
Graces with the Virtues ; to establish which companion- 
ship, is itself one of the offices of virtue. 

All these are, it is true, no more than mere by-work 
(parerga), or accessory virtues, giving a fair virtuous ap- 
pearance. These, however, never deceive, as every body 
knows for how much they are to pass current. They are va- 
lid only as small coin, and yet conduce to strengthen man's 
virtuous sentiments, were it even merely by awakening 
the endeavour to bring this outward form as near as pos- 
sible to a reality, in rendering us accessible, conversible. 


polite, hospitable, and engaging in our daily intercourse ; 
which things, although one and all of them, no more than 
a mere manner of behaviour, do, by being obligatory 
forms of sociability, at the same time oblige others, and 
promote the cause of virtue, by making it beloved. 

A question may, however, be raised, whether we may 
venture to frequent the society of the wicked? But we 
cannot avoid meeting with them, unless by withdrawing 
from the world ; and besides, our judgment as to their cha- 
racters is incompetent. But whenever vice is a scandal, 
i. e. is an openly given example of unblushing contempt 
for strict laws of duty, and does therefore entail the in- 
famy of dishonour, then all former intercourse must be 
broken up, or at least carried on as sparingly as possible, 
even should the law of the land annex no punishment to 
the crime ; for to continue in society with such a person, 
is to throw a stain on honour, and to prostitute the virtues 
of sociability to whomsoever is rich enough to bribe his 
parasites with the voluptuousnesses of luxury. 






That virtue must be acquired, and is not innate, results 
from the very notion of it, and does not need that we 
should recur to what observation and experience teaches 
in Anthropology ; for the ethic strength were not virtue, 
unless it were brought forth by the firmness of man's re- 
solution when combating against such mighty withstand- 
ing appetites. It is the product of pure practical reason, 
so far forth as this last does, by the consciousness of her 
superiority in freedom, gain the mastery over those. 

That ethics therefore can, and needs must be taught, is 
corollary only from the position, that it is not born with 
us. It is accordingly a science (a doctrine^ t. e. a demon- 
strated theory) ; but since, by the mere knowledge how we 
ought to behave, no power is gained of exerting that 
knowledge into act, the old Stoics were of opinion that 
virtue could not be taught hortatively by the naked repre- 



sentatioD duty, but behoved to be cultivated by the asce- 
tic exercise of encountering the inward enemy in man. 
For no man can straightway do anywhat he wills to do, 
unless he have first tried his powers, and practised them ; 
to which, however, the determination must be taken all 
at once. And in the case of virtue, any intention to ca- 
pitulate with vice, or parley as to the gradual evacuation 
of its territory, would be itself impure, and even vicious ; 
and the product of such a sentiment could not be virtue, 
this last depending on one only principle. 

§ 50. 

Now, as to virtue's scientific method, — and every scien- 
tific doctrine must be methodic if it is not to be tumul- 
tuary, — this method cannot be fragmentary, but must be 
systematic, if ethics is to be represented as a science. 
But the treatment of it may be either acroamatic, or it 
may be erotematic. In the former case, those whom we 
address are auditors simply ; in the latter, we interrogate 
the pupil. This erotematic method, again, is subdivided 
into the dialogical, where the science is questioned out of 
the pupil's reason, and into the catechetic, where, out of 
his memory. When we intend to evolve anywhat out of 
the reason of another, it can be done only by the dialogue, 
the master and the disciple mutually interrogating and 
responding. The master conducts by his questions the 
pupil's train of thinking, by merely laying before him 
certain select instances, adapted for starting the substra- 
tum of given notions. The disciple is thus aroused to 
the consciousness of his own ability to think, and even 
does, by his re-interrogation (called forth by the obscurity 



or the doubtfulness of his master's tenets), teach the teach- 
er, how best to frame the dialogue : as the old proverb has 
it, docendo disdmus. 


The first and most necessary instrumental for convey- 
ing ethical information to the altogether untutored, would 
be an ethical catechism. It ought to go before the reli- 
gious catechism, and to be taught separately, and quite in- 
dependent of it, and not, as is too often done, taught along 
with it, and thrust into it, as it were by parentheses ; for 
it is singly on pure ethic principles that a transit can be 
made from virtue to religion, and when the case is other- 
wise, the confessions are insincere. Upon this account 
it is that our most celebrated theological dignitaries have 
hesitated to compose a catechism for the statutable 
FAITH (creed), and thereby to stand, as it were, surety 
for it ; whereas, one might have thought that so scanty 
a service was the very least we were entitled to expect, 
from the vast stores of their learning. 

On the contrary, the composition of a pure moral cate- 
chism as a ground-sketch of the moral duties, does not 
lie open to the like scruple or to the same difficulty ; the 
whole matter of it, admitting of being evolved out of every 
person's common sense ; and its form only, requiring adap- 
tation to the didactic rules of an elementary instruction. 
The formal principle, however, of this kind of instruction, 
does not admit of the dialogo-Socratic method, the pupil 
not yet knowing what he has to ask. The teacher, there- 
fore, alone catechises ; and the answers, which are to be 
methodically elicited from the reason of the pupil, should 


be drawn up iu definite, unchanging terms, and then in- 
trusted for conservation to his memory. In which latter 
point it is, that the catechetic method differs from the 
acroamatic, where the teacher alone speaks ; as also from 
the dialogic, where the interrogatories are mutual. 


The experimental mean, the technique of moral educa- 
tion, is the good example of the teacher himself, his own 
conduct being exemplary, and the warning one of others ; 
for, copying is what first starts the causality of the will 
of the unlearned, and induces him to project those max- 
ims which, in the sequel, he adopts. Habit is the esta- 
blishment of a continual and permanent appetite, apart 
from any maxim, and springs from abandonment to re- 
peated gratification, and is merely a mechanism of the 
sensory, and not any principle of cogitation ; and to wean 
one's self from it, is usually more difficult than to bring 
it forth. But as to the power of examples (whether to 
good or to evil) offered to our propensity for copying, it 
is to be noted, that the conduct of no one, can become the 
rule of ours, so as to found any maxims and principles of 
virtue ; these consisting always just in the subjective auto- 
nomy of every man's own practical reason, where no 
external behaviour but only the law is the standard 
whereon we regulate the determinations of our will. The 
instructor will, for this reason, never say to an ill-thriv- 
ing pupil, take an example from that good, orderly, stu- 
dious boy ; for the pupil can only take occasion to hate 
his model, from seeing himself placed by him in so disad- 
vantageous a light. A good example ought not to be 


made a copy, but should be used to serve in showing the 
practicability of our duty. It is not a comparison with 
any other man " as he is,"" but with the idea of humanity 
« as he ought to be" i. e. with the law, that must sup- 
ply the preceptor with an infallible standard of educa- 



The preceptor questions out of the reason of his scho- 
lar what he wishes to teach him ; and if, by hazard, this 
last cannot answer, then the other dexterously suggests 
to him the responses. 

Preceptor. What is thy chief desire in life ? 
Scholar. Remains silent. 

P. That every thing should succeed and prosper with 
thee, according to thy whole heart and wish, — how is 
such a situation called ? 
S. is silent. 

p. It is called happiness (welfare, comfort, entire feli- 
city). Now, suppose that thou had'st confided to thee all 
the happiness which is at all possible ; would'st thou keep 
it to thyself, or would'st thou impart some of it to others ? 
S. I would share it with my fellows, that they also 
might be happy and contented. 

P. Good : that says somewhat for thy heart. Let us 
now see how it stands with thy head. Would'st thou give 
the sluggard, cushions to while away his time in sloth? 
would'st thou allow the drunkard wine, and the occasions 


of excess ; or give the deceiver captivating form and man- 
ners, that he might entrap others ? would'st thou give the 
robber intrepidity and strength ? These are some means, 
whereby each of the above, hope to become happy, after a 

S. Oh, no ; not at all. 

P. So that, if thou had'st at thy disposal all possible 
happiness, and had'st likewise the completely good-will 
to bestow it, thou would'st not unreflectingly confer it on 
the first comer, but would'st previously inquire how far 
he might be worthy, of such happiness as he aspired after ; 
but as for thyself, thou would'st probably, without hesita- 
tion, provide for thee whatever would conduce to thy 
S. Yes. 

P. But would not then the question occur to thee, to 
inquire if thou thyself wert altogether worthy of such 
happiness ? 

S. Yes, it would. 

P. That within thee which pants for happiness, is ap- 
petite : that, again, which limits and restricts this appetite 
for happiness to the prior condition of thy being worthy 
of it, is thy reason : and that thou by force of thy rea- 
son can'st contain and conquer thy appetites, that, is the 
freedom of thy will. And in order to know what is to be 
done to partake of happiness, and at the same time not 
to become unworthy of it, the rule and the instruction lies 
all alone in thy reason ; that is to say, it is not needful 
for thee to learn the rule of thy conduct from observation 
and experience, nor from others in education. Thy own 
REASON teaches and commands thee forthwith what thou 
hast to do : e. g. suppose the case were put, that by a 


dexterous lie thou could'st extricate thyself or thy friend 
from some near embarrassment, and that without preju- 
dice to any other, — what would thy reason say to such 
a matter ? 

S. Reason says that I ought not to lie, be the advan- 
tages of falsehood ever so great. Lying is mean, and 
makes man unworthy to be happy. Here is an uncondi- 
tionate injunction of reason to be obeyed, in the face of 
which all appetite and inclination must be silent. 

P. How do'st thou call this absolute necessity of acting 
conformably to a law of reason ? 
S. Duty. 

P. The observance, then, of a man's duty is the only 
and the unchanging condition of his worthiness to 
be made happy ; and these two are identic and the same. 
But admitting that thou wert conscious of such a good 
and effective will, whereby thou mightest deem thyself 
worthy, at least not unworthy, of felicity, can'st thou 
ground upon that, any certain hope of becoming one day 
happy ? 

S. No, not upon that alone ; for it is neither in our 
own power to secure our welfare, nor is the course of na- 
ture so adjusted as to fall in with good-desert ; and the 
chances of life depend on events over which we have no 
control. Our happiness must remain a bare wish, and 
cannot even convert itself to hope, unless some foreign 
power undertake it for us. 

P. Has reason any grounds for believing in, as real, 
any such supreme power, dealing out happiness and misery 
according to desert and guilt, having sway over the whole 
physical system, and governing the world with the ex- 
treraest wisdom : i. e. to hold that God is ? 


S. Yes ; for we discover in those works of nature we 
can judge of, manifested, the traces of a wisdom so vast 
and profound, that we can account for it only by ascrib- 
ing it to the unsearchable skill of a Creator,* from whom 
we deem ourselves entitled to expect a no less admirable 
adjustment of the world's moral order, which latter is in- 
deed its highest harmony ; that is to say, we may one day 
hope to become partakers of happiness, if we do not, by 
our forgetfulness of duty, make ourselves unworthy of it. 


In this catechism, which ought to go in detail over all the 
virtues and vices, it is of the most vital moment that the 
behests of duty be not based on any advantages or incon- 
veniences springing from their observance, to the man 
who stands obliged by them, no not even on the good re- 
sults accruing to others ; but that abstraction being made 
from all such, those behests be immediately grounded on 
the pure moral law itself, the others may indeed be men- 
tioned, but only by the by, and as superfluities. It is 
the shame, and not the damage, that goes hand in hand 
with vice, that is at all points to be insisted on. For 
when the dignity of virtue in action is not extolled beyond 
every thing, then is the very idea duty thawed down and 
resolved into a mere dictate of expediency. That which 
ennobles and gives state to man fades out of his con- 
sciousness, and he, despoiled of the enchantm£nt that 
would have guided him unscaithed through life, stands 

* This does not contradict what was said at p. 159. There the ques- 
tion was oi a priori knowledge. Here Kant only talks of belief. (T.) 


venal for any price, his seductive appetites may bid for 

When these instructions have been exactly and wisely 
evolved from the reason of the pupil, according to the dif- 
ferent stages of rank, age, or sex, mankind may be pre- 
sented in : then there remains yet somewhat which inly 
searches and shakes the soul to its foundation, and places 
man in a position, where he can only behold himself, 
struck with unbounded admiration at the aspect of the 
originary substratum of his nature; — an impression no 
time can ever afterwards deface. When all his duties are 
briefly recapitulated to him in their order, and he is made 
observant at each one of them, that no evils, nor tribula- 
tions, nor ills of life, no not even imminent death, which 
may be threatened, if he adhere faithful to his duty, are 
able to Jessen, or to take away his consciousness of being 
independent on all such, and their master. Then the ques- 
tion lies very near him. What is that within thee that 
dare trust itself, to go forth to encounter and to brave 
every vicissitude in the physical system, within thee and 
without thee ; in the confident conviction that thou can'st 
surmount the whole of them, if they collide with thy ethi- 
cal resolves? When this question, which presents itself 
of its own accord, but which far transcends all ability of 
speculative reason to investigate or explore, — when this 
question, I say, is once laid properly to heart, then must 
even the incomprehensible of the might retected in this 
part of self-knowledge, fire the soul to unsheath a yet 
keener energy of reason, and prompt her to the more inly 
hallowing of her law, the more temptation solicits to for- 
sake it. 

In this ethic catechetical instruction, it would conduce 


not a little to facilitate the advancement of the pupil, to 
propose, at the analysis of each duty, a few questions in 
casuistry, and then let the whole scholars try their skill 
in disentangling themselves from the puzzle. Not alone 
because this manner of sharpening the judgment is the 
very best adapted to the capacity of beginners, but espe- 
cially because it is man's nature to acquire a liking and 
relish for studies he is at length well versant in, and has 
urged to the grade of science ; and thus the pupil is un- 
awares drawn over, by unsuspected steps, to the interests 
of morality. ,; 

But it is of the very last moment, in all education, not 
to mix up and amalgamate the religious with the moral 
catechism ; and yet of higher, not to suffer " tJw£^ to pre- 
cede " this" but always to endeavour, with the greatest 
diligence and detail, to bring the understanding to the 
clearest insight in ethical topics ; for, when the case is 
otherwise, religion slides imperceptibly, and in the se- 
quel into HYPOCRISY ; and mankind is driven hy fear, to 
lie in the face of his own conscience, an acknowledgment 
of duties in which his heart takes no share. 





The rules for the exercise of virtue, are intended to 
bring about and establish these two moods or frames of 
mind, viz. to make it (1) hardy and (2) cheerful in the 
discharge of duty. Virtue has to combat obstacles, for 
the vanquishing of which she has to rally all her forces ; 
and is also sometimes summoned to quit and yield up the 
joys of life, the loss of which may well sadden the soul, 
and might even make it dark and sulky. But he who 
does not do, what he has to do with alacrity, but renders 
the servile services of bondage, finds no inward worth in 
the obeying of the law, but dislikes it ; and will shun as 
much as possible all occasions of observing it. 

The culture of virtue, i. e. the ethical ascetics, has, in 
regard of its first element, i. e. for the valiant, dauntless 
indefatigable practice of virtue, no other than the old 
watchword of the Stoa {avt^ov xai uTe^ov, bear and for- 
bear). Bear, endure the evils of life without complaint ; 
FORBEAR, abstain from its superfluous enjoyments. This is 
a kind of diatetics, enabling man to keep himself ethically 
in health. Health however is, after all, only a negative 
satisfaction, and is not itself capable of being made sen- 
sible. Something must be superadded (viz. the second 
element) to make us taste the sweet amenity of life, and 
which must still be only moral. This is the having a 
serene, gay, and ever joyous heart, according to the sen- 


timent of the virtuous Epicurus. And who, indeed, can 
have more reason to be contented with himself, and gay ; 
nay, who so able, even to regard it as a duty owed by 
him to himself, to transplant himself into a serene and 
joyous frame of mind, and to make it habitual, as he who 
is aware of no wilful transgression, and knows himself 
secured against a lapse (hie murus aheneus esto) ? The an- 
ti-part of all this, however, is the ascetic exercise of the 
monasteries,* which, inspired by superstitious fear, and 

• A reply made hy Kant to Schiller may belong to this place. The 
common objection in Germany to Kant's Ethics is, that it is too rigoris- 
tical ; and the poet, in his paper on grace and decorum, affirms that Kant's 
ideas of duty and obligation are best fitted to produce monastic manners, 
being subversive of all physical grace, and proper only for slaves. Here 
is the answer of the philosopher. He distinguishes betwixt the idea duhj 
and the beneficial effects of virtue. The first admits of no grace, on ac- 
count of the awe and sense of the sublime, which follow on its repre- 
sentation ; the sublime disdaining charms and embellishment as only 
proper to the beautiful : but permanent effects of active virtue on him 
who has fulfilled his duty, may be, and often are, advantageous, and ap- 
pear as graceful and decorous. 

" So that were the question put, which then is the right determina- 
tion of the sensory wherewith duty is to be obeyed ? i. e. what is the 
TEMPERAMEVT of virtue, valiant, and by consequence joyous ? or 
anxious and dejected ? Scarce any answer would be needed ; so slavish a 
state and tone of soul never can be, where the law itself is not hated; 
and the glad and joj'ous heart, on the execution of duty (not complacen- 
cy in recognising it) betokens that the virtuous sentiments are genuine, 
— nay, is the test that piety is real, — piety consisting not in the sclf-re- 
proachings of a whining sinner (a state of mind I look upon as exceedingly 
equivocal, and which is, for the most part, the man's inward upbraidings 
at having erred against a dictate of prudential expediency), but in the 
stedfast, unfaultering determination to make the matter better in all 
time to come. And this purpose gaining in life and force by the con- 
stancy wherewith the ascetic knows he has adhered to it, must needs ef- 
fectuate a joyful disposition. Apart from which, no one can be certain 
that he loves good, i, e. has adopted it into his m&xims." (Kant's Reli- 
gion, p. 11.) Tr. 


the hypocritical disesteem of a man's own self, sets to 
work with self-reproaches, whimpering compunction, and 
a torturing of the body, and is intended not to result in 
virtue, but to make expurgation for sins, where, by self- 
imposed punishment, the sinners expect to do penance, 
instead of ethically repenting of them («. e. merely for- 
saking them by the undecaying energy of the representa- 
tion of the law) ; but this custom of imposing and exe- 
cuting punishment upon a man's own self (which en- 
closes a contradiction, — punishment demanding the sen- 
tence of another), cannot beget that hilarity which goes 
hand in hand with virtue, and would rather tend to en- 
gender a covert hatred of the behests of duty. All ethi- 
cal gymnastic consists, therefore, singly in the subjugat- 
ing the instincts and appetites of our physical system, in 
order that we remain their master in any and all circum- 
stances hazardous to morality ; a gymnastic exercise ren- 
dering the will HARDY and robust, and which, by the con- 
sciousness of regained freedom, makes the heart glad. 
To feel compunction, is inevitable on the remembrance of 
former sins, — it is even a duty not to suffer it to fade on 
such reminiscence; but this compunction, and the inflic- 
tion of a penance, such as fasting, are totally distinct and 
disparate ethical operations, the latter whereof, understood 
not in a diatctical, but pious sense, is cheerless, sad, and 
gloomy, makes virtue hateful, and scares away her sup- 
porters. The discipline exercised by man upon himself, 
can only by its attendant hilarity and alacrity become 
welcome and exemplary. 




Although the last result obtained in our inquiry into 
the reach and extent of the a priori operations of hu- 
man understanding was, that speculative reason declared 
the existence of God problematical ; yet the belief in 
God being here admitted, and it being farther admitted, 
that the doctrine of religion is an integral part of the 
general system of the offices, the question now raised re- 
spects the determining the boundary of the science, 
whereof it is part. Are we to regard it as belonging to 
morals (to law in no event, for the rights of man cannot 
comprehend it) ? or is it to be considered as falling out of 
and beyond the domains of pure moral philosophy ? 

The formal of religion, explained to be " the aggregate of 
our duties, as if they were divine commandmeivts^^ belongs 
to the philosophy of morals ; since it expresses singly 
the relation obtaining betwixt reason and that idea of 
God itself evolves, and the duty to have religion is not 
thereby made any duty owed by us toward God, as a 
being existing out of and beyond our own ideas ; for we 
expressly abstract from such existence. That all human 
duties must be cogitated agreeably to this form (by refer- 
ring them to a Divine a priori Will), rests on aground sub- 
jectively logical only. We cannot easily depicture to our- 
selves in thought, obligation (ethical necessitation), ex- 
cept by figuring to ourselves another and His will — God, 
— whose vicegerent is our universally legislative reason ; 
but this duty in relation to the Divinity (strictly in rela- 


tion to the idea we frame to ourselves of such a Being), is 
a duty owed by mankind to himself; i. e. is not an ob- 
jective duty to perform certain services to anotlier, but a 
subjective obligation only, to strengthen the ethic springs 
of our own legislative reason. 

As for the matter of religion, as a whole of duties to- 
ward God, and of the worship to be rendered him, such ob- 
ligations would be particular, not emanating from uni- 
versally legislative reason. They could not upon this 
account be cognisable a priori, but could be known by ex- 
perience and observation singly, that is, they would be 
duties of REVEALED RELIGION, rested on divine command- 
ments in the proper sense of the words ; and such duties 
w^ould require to set forth, not the bare idea of the God- 
head for our practical behoof, but the existence of this 
Being as given mediately or immediately in observa- 
tion and experience. A religion of this kind, however, 
how well founded soever it may be, can never constitute 
a part of pure moral philosophy. 

Religion, therefore, considered as the doctrine of the 
duties owed toward God, falls far beyond all limits of pure 
ethics; and these remarks are subjoined here in justifica- 
tion of the present treatise, where the author has not, with 
a view to its completeness, inserted, as is usual, any re- 
ligious duties. 

There may undoubtedly be a doctrine of " religion 
within the limits of naked reason," where it is not 
affirmed that the positions were originated at first by rea- 
son {for this might be too much presumption p. 8, Vor- 
rede Streit d. FacuUdten, T.), but rest in part on historical 
documents and the tenets of a revelation, and where we 
treat only of the harmony of this last, with what is 


taught by pure practical reason. But neither is this kind 
of doctrine of religion pure, but is mixed and applied to 
the Critique of a given document ; and for this, ethics, as 
pure practical philosophy, can afford no room. 

Remark. — All the ethical relations obtaining betwixt 
Intelligents, and involving a principle of the mutual har- 
mony of their wills with one another, may be reduced and 
classed along with the emotions of love and reverence; 
and where th6 principle is practical, the will's determina- 
tion upon the former points to the ewe? of the other person, 
but upon the latter to his right. If now there be such a 
person as to have rights only and no duties toward others 
(God), and the others, conversely, owe merely duties 
and have no rights, then is the principle of the ethic re- 
lation betwixt them transcendent; whereas that of man 
to man, whose wills recipi'ocally limit one another, is im- 

The end of the Godhead in creating, and his provi- 
dence of man, we can only depicture to ourselves as an 
end of love, i. e. that he wills their happiness; but the 
principle of his will in regard of the reverence (awe) we 
owe him, which limits the operations of the principle 
pointing to the end willed, i. e. the principle of his divine 
rights, can be no other than that of justice ; we might, 
speaking as we must do after the fashion of men, lay 
down this position, that God created his intelligent uni- 
verse that he might have somewhat to love or be loved 
by in turn. But then, again, as extensive, nay more so 
(for the principle is restrictive, and conditions the end), is 
the demand, which, even our own reason tells us, divine 
justice, as punitive, may challenge. A reward cannot 
be expected, on the score of justice, from the Supreme 


Being, by Intelligents wlio have no rights, but only duties : 
they can only hope for it from His benignity and love; 
for wages there can be no claim ; and a remunerative jus- 
tice is a contradiction in the relation cf God to man. 

There is, however, in the idea of the judiciary func- 
tion of a Being exalted beyond the possibility of any in- 
fraction of his ends, somewhat hard to be reconciled with 
the relation of tnan to God, viz. the idea of a lesion com- 
mitted against the Sovereign Majesty of the Governor of 
the World, where the question is not of the violations of 
the rights of man, perpetrated by mankind upon one an- 
other, and which God might as Judge avenge ; but of a 
lesion which, it would seem, affected the rights of God him- 
self; an idea altogether transcendent, t. e. which goes quite 
beyond the range of any punitive justice we as men can 
instance in, and presents surd and impossible principles, 
not capable of being brought to coincide with those em- 
ployed in everyday life, and which, therefore, are for our 
reason blank and empty. 

This idea of divine punitive justice has been personified. 
It is not a particular being who dispenses it, for then it 
would be found contrary to the principles of justice; but 
justice itself cogitated in substance (called eternal jus- 
tice), which, like fate in the old poets, is even above Ju- 
piter, announces her law with an iron indeilectible neces- 
sity, the grounds of which we are unable to explore. — Of 
this, examples. Punishment, according to Horace, never 
leaves out of her siglit the culprit who stalks audaciously 
away before her, but limps unremittingly after him until 
she overtake him. — Innocent blood cries for vengeance. — 
Crime cannot remain unavenged ; and if the transgressor 
suffer not, yet his iniquities are visited on his posterity; 


6r if vengeance is not in this life inflicted, it must in an- 
other, after deatli, which is expressly postulated and be- 
lieved in, that the demand of eternal justice may be satis- 
fied. — I will tolerate no blood-guiltiness to come over my 
land, said once a well-thinking prince, by granting pardon 
to a malignant assassinating duellist, for whom ye entreat 
my grace. — The debt of sins must be discharged, even 
though an innocent were required for a sacrifice (in which 
event his sorrows could not be called punishment, he hav« 
ing transgressed no law) ; hence we see, that the justice 
to which we attribute such decrees, is not a person admi- 
nistering a judiciary function (for he could not speak thus 
without violating the rights of others), but that bare jus- 
tice as a transcendent principle, and cogitated to an invi- 
sible subject, defines the right of this personified Being. All 
which is in harmony no doubt with the formal of the prin- 
ciple of creation, but is contrary to its matter, the end, which 
must still be the happiness of mankind ; for, on account of 
the vast multitude of criminals who allow their catalogue of 
sins to run on increasing, this principle of punitive justice 
would come to put the end of Creation, not in the love 
of the Creator (as we cannot but think it), but in the rigid 
maintenance of his right (i, e. would make his right itself 
the end of the creation, called — the glory of god) ; and 
yet, since this justice is only a negative principle limitary 
of the other (benevolence), to affirm this, is contrary to 
the principles of practical reason, or seems to be so ; for, 
in such event, practical reason would hold that there could 
have been no room for creation, leading to results so con- 
trary to the design and intention of the Author, whose 
end we can only depicture to ourselves to have been that 
of love. 


Ethics then, can, as pure practical philosophy, based 
on man's own inward legislation, treat singly of the rela- 
tion obtaining betwixt man and man, and this is for us 
the alone compi'ehensible ; but as for relations obtaining 
betwixt God and man, these far transcend all our powers 
of knowledge, and are absolutely incomprehensible; and 
this confirms what we advanced above, that ethics could 
not extend itself beyond the boundary of the duties owed 
by mankind to one another. 






Kant. Religion innerhalb der Grentzen d. reinen Vernunft. 
Konigsberg, Zweite Auflage, 1794. 
Religion within the bounds of Naked Reason. Konigsberg, 
2d edition, 1794. 

Kant. Streit der Facultaten. Konigsberg, 1798. 

The Battle of the Faculties. This book is dedicated to Dr 
Staudlin, and was originally intended for his Theo- 
logical Journal. Republished by Tieftrunk in the 
third volume of Kant's Miscellaneous Writings. Halle, 

Staudlin. Geschichte der Sittenlehre Jesu. Giittingen, 1799. 
History of the Ethic of Jesus. 

Staudlin's Rationalismus und Supernaturalismus. Giittingen, 

Der Prophet lesaia. Neu iibersetzt und mit einem Commentar 
begleitet, von Dr W. Gesenius. Leipzig, 1820. 
Gesenius' Translation and Commentary on Isaiah. 

The Divine Legation of Moses demonstrated. By W. Warbur- 
ton, D. D. Lord Bishop of Gloucester, V. Y. and Lon- 
don, 1812. 

Thus have we seen how ethic issues in religion ; and the 
reader who has made himself acquainted with Kant's tenets, 
cannot fail to have been struck by the strong resemblance ob- 


taining betwixt the Ethic of pure Reason and the moral scheme 
of Christianity. So alike indeed are they, that in Germany 
they are usually taken to be the same ; only it is said in the case 
of holy writ, the doctrines are historical, whereas, in the 
hands of our author, morals have been ushered into public view 
arrayed in the vestment of a strictly scientific garb. 

Now, to facilitate the understanding of what the Germans 
mean by saying that a theory may be subjectively-historical, 
although at the same time objectively -rational, let us take for a 
moment a supposed example from a more familiar science. Let 
it, for instance, be granted that the modern Cophts had forgotten 
their mathematics, and that, to reinstruct them in that geometry 
which once sprang from Egypt, our Royal Society should depute 
some of their body to make a landing at Alexandria, and there 
instruct the Cophts in the long-forgotten doctrines of their fa- 
thers. Then suppose farther, that the learned men thus com- 
missioned should, to prevent these barbarians from again letting 
drop out of mind the truths of geometry, think fit to record 
their proceedings in a book ; and, to object the memory of it )'et 
more to their minds, should farther cut the fields into the dia- 
grams needed for the demonstrations, intersecting the soil with 
circular, elliptic, or parabolic segments of canals, as the case 
might be ; and that the book of geometry should be made spe- 
cially to refer to these local figures i then would the Cophts 
have a historical and local geometry, and such geometry would 
be QUITE TRUE, for it would contain the scientific in it, and the 
one would not be contrary to the other ; so that a Copht, who 
had begun and ended his geometric studies by help of the his- 
toric VOLUME, and had seen the requisite configurations of space 
in the local diagrams of his country and its canals, would 
nevertheless have in him as sound and exact a geometry as any 
other person, who, apart from any such historical and local ve- 
hicle, had entered at once on a course of purely scientific ma- 
thematics. The Cophts, however, being barbarous, might long 
think that the knowledge of geometry adhered to these local con- 
figurations, and was inseparable from them, and could have no es- 
tablisbmpnt anart f'-^ro tlipir written book, until, in due course of 

APPENDIX. , 351 

time, some mathematician of a more independent order of think- 
ing might arise, to whom it would become manifest that all this 
geometry had its ground and evidence in naked reason ; and 
this insight being gained, he would observe that the historical 
and local geometry might be dispensed with, although quite true ; 
and that the main value the Royal Society's record could have 
had, must have been that of subserving the purpose of a vehi- 
cle to introduce the pure science. For tl>e pure science, being 
once attained, would continue to subsist by itself, and on its 
own evidence. 

In exactly the same way, it may perhaps (Kant would say) 
be a matter of fact that mankind had forgotten the ethical 
SYSTEM, and that it was necessary for a celestial intelligent 
of most exalted rank to appear on earth,* at a time when we 
were ignorant, " dead in trespasses and sins" nay, even this per- 
son's enemies, by the antipathy obtaining betwixt our maxims 
of conduct and his ; and that this supra-terrestrial Being taught 
the only true solution of the question of the sum mum bonum, 
and brought under our notice the doctrine of an invisible and 
supersensible state, called the kingdom of God, which two 
points, the beginning and end of ethics, do covertly imply a 
whole system of that science ; — that he presented farther, in 
his own deportment, a sensible outline and configuration of that 
ethic he had taught, — rose moreover from the dead, and re- 
turned whence he came, thereby shadowing forth a diagram of 
that immortality, he first brought to light, as an ethical element 
needed for the solution of the dialectical difficulties attaching 
to the question of the summum bonum ; — then all this being re- 
corded in a book, and his example, of which his benevolent ad- 
vent would be great part, being narrated, would give a histori- 

• Unquestionably, the cogitation, — that such godlike person was from 
' everlasting possessed of this excelsity and beatitude ; that of these he 
voluntarily divested himself for the sake of the unworthy, even for his 
enemies, in order to rescue them from everlasting ruin, — is a thought 
that must tkterniine our minds to admiration, love, and graiitude to- 
ward him. {Religion, p. (lO.) 


cal and local ethic; and this ethic would be quite true, for 
it would contain the scientific in it, and the only mistake man- 
kind might perhaps commit, would be the supposing that there 
could be no ethic apart from, and unconnected with, the narra- 
tive, until at length a philosopher of a higher order became ob- 
servant that all this ethic had its ground and authority in naked 
reason ; that the belief in an invisible kingdom of God* could 
be arrived at by an investigation a priori ; that this cogitation 
is, strictly speaking, not knowledge, but a faith ; and that, 
apart from this ethical faith in a higher and supersensible order 
of things, it is idle to hope rationally for any moral con- 
duct, although fanatically we may, as the Stoics did. And 
when once this a priori insight was attained, the history, al- 
ihough perfectly true, might, as a mere vehicle, be dispened with. 
The HISTORICAL BELIEF would, it is clear, not be contrary to, or 
inconsistent with, the pure a priori ethical belief ; and who- 
ever should begin a good life, from Scripture, or from the de- 
monstrated theory, would have eventually the self-same moral 
character : acting, in the one case, from the immediate represent- 
ing of the law, — in the other, from the law made exhibitive in the 
example.f And if this opinion be correct, then it may with the 
greatest propriety be affirmed, not only that reason and reve- 
lation are in the greatest harmony, but that they are absolutely 

Herein, then, consists the rationalism of divines in Germany. 
It consists in holding the identity of the historical with the ethi- 

• Kant's Ideal Empire of Ends-in-Themselves, p. 83 of the foregoing 

•^ A living belief in the Son of God is standard and spring at once. 
• • * But, on the contrary, the belief in this self-same archetype in 
his phenomenon, — as God-man, — is a posteriori and historical, and so not 
identic with the a priori principles of reason. • * • And yet in his 
phenomenon, it is not that of him falling under sense, but that in him 
which corresponds to the ethical archetype latent in our own reason, that 
is, properly speaking, the object of saving and justifying faith ; and such 
a faith is quite identic with the principles of a walk and conversation 
acceptable to God. {Religion, p. 174.) 


cal belief, where, however, what are mere historical details, are 
deemed to be no more than a vehicle for the latter. With this 
explanation, we are in a condition to fix precisely the meaning 
of the words, — naturalism, rationalism, and supra-ra- 
TioNALisM. If a man deny altogether the possibility of such a 
historical vehicle, then he is a naturalist. If he admit a his- 
toric promulgation of ethic and religion, but contend that the 
history can be no more than a mere vehicle, then he is a ra- 
tionalist. Should he however hold, that the history is some- 
what more than a mere vehicle, and that the narrative is itself a 
part of religion, or perhaps of ethic, then he is a supra-ra- 

Kant was a Rationalist. He invariably admitted the possibility 
of a revelation, but maintained that such historical belief could 
be nothing more than a mere vehicle toward the ethical. As a 
rationalist, indeed, he was, by his very assuming such a name, 
compelled to abide within the bounds of all rational insight. 
Hence he never did, as the Naturalists, deny or dispute the pos- 
sibility of revelation, nor yet the necessity of such a thing 
as a divine means towards the introduction of a true religious 
feith. He left, on the contrary, ample room for Supra-rational- 
ism, and even said the ethical faith leaves a man always open 
/or the historical, in ^o far as he find this last conducive to the 
enlivening of his pure moral and religiotis sentiments, which belief 
can alone in this way have any inward moral worth, as it is then 
free, and unextorted by any threat.* 

The Translator inclines to the opinion of the Supra-rationalists, 
and takes the historical faith to be itself a part of religion. All 
religion is a doctrine of duty ; and in his opinion this duty may 
affect the will in a twofold manner. The duty arising out of the 
historical belief must, of course, be represented as autonomic, and 
cannot be represented as founded simply on a divine command- 
ment ; for then the imperative would be no more than an ecclesi- 
astical statute for the behoof of a church. The historical faith, 
therefore, although ^c?e* imperata, must be Wkew'i&e fides historice 
elicita.\ First, then, it is clear that the history of Christ's advent, 

• RtHgion, p. 281. f Jbid. p. 247-250. 


death, and departure, — the mbssianic-historical, orBiBLicAi, 
BELIEF, as commonly understood, — being admitted, the obUgation 
of gratitude toward him is immediately constituted ; and this ob- 
ligation is imposed by a man's own, and so by even/ other reason, 
e.g. THE DIVINE. Acknowledgment and thanks can no longer 
be paid to Christ personally, and can therefore only be discharged 
by active gratitude toward our fellow-men. Regarded in thie 
light, it is one of the duties of religion to advance the ends of 
our fellow-men, out of gratitude to Christ. A determination of 
will of this sort, where we reproduce in ourselves a transcript of 
Christ's friendship for us, superadds sympathy to that practical 
reverence, whereunto we are naturally beholden by the law, and 
ought to be represented as a determination of will sui generis, i. e. 
one made possible singly by the history — of divine command- 
ment, and yet most entirely free and autonomic, — A new com- 
mandment, &c.* {John, xiii. 34.) 

Second, In respect of the determination of will by the idea of 
the summum bonum. A Supra-rationalist would hold, that such 
immortality, and access to the kingdom of God, are put within 
our reach, by what Christ did and suffered for mankind, for the 
full and plenary gaining of this last end, — restoration to our lost 
inheritance, — is represented in holy writ,| as the fruit of Christ's 
having expurgated man's infraction of the law. When therefore 
an individual determines his will by the idea of the summum bo- 
num, he will, if a believer in the history, think it a duty to super- 
add to the bare ethical representation, and to the adoration of the 
Godhead involved in this second determination of will, the imme- 
diate emotion of gratitude toward Christ. This latter state of will 
seems to be that spoken of by Peter the apostle, in his first chapter 
of his first epistle, v. 3-9, and in the doxologies to Christ in the 
Apocalypse. In this opinion the Translator is supported by know- 

- • James on Christian Charity, — a book which, though containing much 
to which no Kantist can subscribe, has nevertheless the advantage of 
representing the study of the character of Christ as fitted to beget, esta- 
blish, and make permanent, a benevolent determination of will of a par- 
ticular sort. 

•f Warburton, Div. Leg. book ix. 


ing, that all orthodox divines have concurred in representing the 
scriptural spring to active virtue, as the hope of that everlasting 
life and blessedness which God has prepared for the just in hea- 
ven. They only neglected to state what Kant has insisted on in 
his dialectic of the summum bonum, that in this representation of 
immortality the moral law is covertly involved, and that the 
law is in truth still the formal determinator of the will, even while 
fixed on the summum bonum as its matter and last end. These 
obligations of gratitude ought not to be discharged grudgingly, 
or as a burden, but ought to be joyously undertaken and gone 
through as a high ethical advantage, assisting us to cultivate the 
virtues of charity and humanity, and so to conjoin *' the warmth 
of an affection with the stability of principle." 

These distinctions may seem to some too shadowy. They are 
notwithstanding of great moment, as they go to prevent the his- 
torical faith from being so mistaken, as to issue in heteronomy, 
and are completely in harmony with the spirit and genius of 
Kant's system, — the only difference betwixt the Author and his 
Translator being, that the former would hold the historical belief 
optional, whereas, in the opinion of the latter, it is commanded. 

The possibility of such a divine commandment seems to be ad- 
mitted, at least not denied, at p. 249 of the Religion Innerhalb ; 
but in the Streit der FacuUdten^ p. 107, we find Kant maintain- 
ing, that to suppose the historical faith incumbent as a duty, is 
SUPERSTITION, — a position which he certainly ought to have ad- 
vanced in his work on religion, had he held that opinion in 1794, 
instead of introducing it, for the first time, almost as an obiter 
dictum, in a small pamphlet published in 1798, — a pamphlet 
which otherwise could scarcely ever have been regarded as con- 
stituting any part of his philosophic system. This opinion he 
did not even hold in 1796, when his ethic first came out ; for the 
possibility of positive divine commandments is therein twice over 
expressly admitted, which he could not have done, had he then 
been persuaded that to believe in a narrated imperative 
(^tJie essence whereof must be to command, inter alia, itself to be be- 
lieved), was a superstitious or heathenish creed. The Streit der 
Facultdten is, however, a work to which the Translator is not in- 
clined to pay much attention, partly from the great age of the 


author, who, at any rate, was then bordering on dotage, and had 
previously complained that he was incapacitated for abstract 
thinking ; and partly because the preface, if not open exactly to 
the odious charge of wilful .lying, shows that Kant had lately 
been making ample use of the privilege claimed in his Elements 
of Law (p. 202 of the foregoing Translation), to say what he liked, 
whether true or untrue. But if our philosopher was capable of 
prevaricating or equivocating with his king on the subject of 
Christianity, we must watch with great jealousy any conclusion 
he may have arrived at, while labouring under so gross a bias, 
more especially when contrary to the hitherto acknowledged spi- 
rit of his system. It is matter of great regret to the Translator 
to find himself compelled to call in question the candour of an 
individual for whom he entertains so high an admiration ; but it 
is needless to cloak the notorious infirmity or depravity even of 
those whom we would willingly regard as the best of men. The 
Translator considers it due to the reader to acquaint him with 
this circumstance, * so as to enable him the better to make up 
his mind in judging for himself betwixt the two conflicting theo~ 
ries of the rationalists and supra-rationalists. 

It is, however, interesting to know what the objections or dif- 
ficulties are, opposed by Kant to the possibility of a positive di- 
vine commandment. There seems to have been with Kant a 
double obstacle ; the first turns on the question of the expurgation 
of sins, the second, on the imagination that the historical belief 
could add nothing to any man's moral character. — First, it is usual- 
ly supposed that reason leaves us totally in the dark as to the want 
of our own righteousness, and the forgiveness of our sins. But this 
is not the case. It is no doubt quite true that reason cannot tell 
whether an atonement may be required or not. But reason can 
say thus much, that if any such atonement be at all needed, then 
since man cannot perform it for himself, and since he cannot 
make what he has done undone, then this redemption from evil, 
if any, must be done by some one for him, i. e. must be entirely 

* The whole details of this story are to be found in Blackwood'' $ Ma- 
gazine for August 1830. The castigation there administered is severe, 
but just. 


and altogether gratis. There can therefore be no gift of 
righteousness to be accepted by man, but rather that righteous- 
ness, if any such there be, must be gratuitously adjudged to 
his accoimt by the upholder of the moral law, and the forgive- 
ness of sins cannot possibly be clogged with any condition what- 
soever. That this is what reason teaches, and indeed must 
teach, on this subject, appears everywhere from Kant's writings 
on religion. But continental commentators on the gospel have 
generally represented the expurgation of sins, as conditioned, 
either by faith, or by acceptance of the pardon, or by repentance ; 
and there can be no doubt that Kant saw in this doctrine a tenet 
directly militating against what he knew upon grounds a priori 
to be one of the ethical notices of reason ; * and therefore event- 
ually issuing in superstition and hypocrisy, — a stumbling-block, 
that at once vanishes the moment we become aware that the ex- 
purgation of sins is absolutely gratuitous, " being justified gratis 

* I lay down this position as requiring no proof. Every thing mak- 


WORSHIP or THE Deity. I Say, whatever man fancies he can do ; for 
that something, beyond all our exertions, may lie in the mysteries of 
supreme wisdom, possible to be performed by God alone, and making us 
acceptable in his sight, is not denied by me. But even if the church 
were to promulgate, as revealed, any such mystery, still the opinion, that 
to believe in this revelation, as taught in the sacred volume, and to con- 
fess, whether inwardly or outwardly, such belief, were anywhat in itself 
rendering us acceptable to God, would be a dangerous delusion in reli- 
gion. For thit belief, considered as the inward self-confession of one's 
stedfast conviction, is so certainly an act, extorted by fear, that an 
honest upright man would rather accept any other condition ; because 
all outward ceremonial worship, mankind can regard as only somewhat 
supererogatory to be gone through ; whereas here he violates his con- 
science, by declaring in its presence what he is not {and cannot become ? 
Tr.) convinced of. The confession, therefore, with regard to which, he 
persuades himself, that it {at the acceptance of a proffered boon) will make 
him acceptable to God, is somewhat which he imagines he can do, in ad- 
dition to the moral conduct that the law ordains him to execute in the 
world, and which is done for the worship of God singly. — (Religion, p. 


by hisgrace,"(ii?o»?.iii.24) — and that, too, whether we regard this 
redemption from evil negatively, as a mere remission of the pains 
of law, ov positively, as moreover an investiture with righteousness, 
whereby we become fully conformable to the law, and so alto- 
gether acceptable in the sight of God. That interpretation 
which makes the well-known words — the righteousness of God — 
signify our plenary, and not merely supplementary, conformity 
to law, by a divine work — is, under any aspect, incompatible with 
Kant's system, L e. with reason, and may therefore be passed 
over by all Kantists, without any farther remark. 

With regard to Kant's second objection, it is obvious that 
Kant must speak ah ignoranlia ; for having been an unbeliever 
in the history, he could not know whether a practical assent 
to it would support or overthrow his morality. That great ad- 
vantages are to be derived from a lively belief in the narrative, 
is an opinion very widely spread and very commonly entertain- 
ed, and is what has just been affirmed by the Translator. We 
may therefore regard this also as disposed of. Although, un- 
doubtedly, if any one should find the historical belief prejudicial 
to his ethical estate, — as has by some been asserted, — it would 
be impossible for such a person to represent to himself the Chris- 
tian faith as an incumbent duty. 

Books have been written to show that the practical effects of 
vital Christianity excel those of bare Rationalism ; and this has 
probably been done with a view not only to extol the Chris- 
tian dispensation, but likewise to contradict what Kant has said 
at page 24, Of the Groundwork, of the strength of the unaided 
energies of reason. But it is clear that no duty can be founded 
on any by-views of advantage or disadvantage; and even when 
it is admitted that religious determinations of will, do lend an 
added force to its inward mobile ; still, because such determina- 
tions of will are adopted singly out of regard had to the au- 
thority of an unconditionally-necessitating commandment, and 
since, in such material determinations, the moral law is at all 
times covertly involved, there is no need to depart from the fun- 
damental position that the naked moral law is by far the mighti- 
est spring to action. Besides, Kant never intended to say that 
the primary emotion reverence could not be supported and 


sustained by being conjoined with one or other of the second- 
ary emotions, such as an emotion of beauty,* or a feeling of bene- 
volence. However, where no reverence has gone before, there 
a secondary emotion is good for nothing ; and the culture of gra- 
titude ought to be conducted upon system as a point of duty, 
not at hap-hazard as an affair of taste. 

In addition to the two above-mentioned objections, Kant 
suggests sundry minor and special others, such as, that belief 
cannot fall under an imperative at all, and that the essentials 
of religion must needs consist in that only of it which is apriori ; 
and that therefore the history being a posteriori, must of neces- 
sity be extra-essential, though not upon that account imma- 
terial or superfluous. German theologians posterior to Kant have 
endeavoured to show that there is no truth in the history at all ; 
and unquestionably in this way the whole debate betwixt Ra- 
tionalism and Supra-rationalism is expunged. Gesenius, in his 
commentary on Isaiah, and De Wette on Daniel,f have exerted 
themselves to dry up Christianity in its sources, i. e. in the Mes- 
sianic prophecies ; and Schleiermacher on Luke has registered 
the contradictions discoverable in the Gospels. The researches 
of a future age will doubtless bring what — to this extent— is a 
mere affair of historical inquiry, to a final and satisfactory re- 
sult. Meanwhile, the Translator has held himself bound to state 
what he conceives to be immediate obligations springing from 
the historic narrative, the truth of that narrative being presup- 

* Critik d. Urtheilskraft, p. 51. The union of taste with reason serves 
as an underground for adding a self-maintaining and balancing mental 
equilibrium to that cast of thought which is only to be acquired by toil 
and labour . . . Properly speaking, neither does the notion perfec- 
tion gain by the perception beauty, nor beauty by perfection ; but the 
collective representative faculty gains in force when both understanding 
and sense are brought into harmony. 

•f Daniel in Ersch and Gruber's Encyclopadie. 


There is in the Advocates' Library a German abridgment, by an Ano- 
nymous Writer, of Kant'B Religion. It is bound up in the same volume 
with Kant's Prize Essay. What follows is the first two chapters of 
Kant's Book, thus sketched in marginal outline by his Commentator. 

Chapter I. 


That the world lieth in wickedness, is a very old complaint. 
All histories give the world, at its outset, a good beginning ; 
but then they come on the instant to a lapse, and talk of a de- 
scent, with accelerated speed, into evil. 

' In modern days, philosophers and pedagogues have good-na- 
turedly embraced the contrary to that opinion, and maintained 
that the world is perpetually on the march toward a better and 
a better state, for which advance toward perfection the sub- 
stratum exists in the nature of man. 

' In this embarrassed state of the matter, it occurs to every one 
to put the question, Whether or not there may not be room for 
holding that man is by nature neither good nor bad ? or, other- 
wise, for asserting that mankind is both of them at once, i. e. 
good sometimes, and at other times evil ? 


To judge by observation and experience, this last would seem 
the correct opinion. But when weighed in the balance of pure 
reason, man's character must be otherwise estimated. 

This more rigid and rigorous estimation rises upon this posi- 
tion, a position of the first moment in ethics, that our free 
choice can never be determined by any spring to any act, ex- 
cept so far forth as we have adopted such spring into our 
maxim ; i. e. have stated it as a universal, according to which 
we will to conduct ourselves. ' 

The moral law is of itself the all-sufficient spring of will, and 
he who has established it as his maxim is morally good. Who- 
so acts not according to it has not made it his maxim, but has, 
by consequence, made some other spring different from the law 
his maxim, and so is morally bad. The sentiment of mankind 
is therefore never indifferent relatively to the law ; and he ne- 
ver can be neither good nor evil. 

In like manner, mankind cannot be in some points of charac- 
ter morally good, while he is at the same time in others evil ; 
for is he in any point good, then the moral law is his maxim ; 
but is he likewise, at the same time, in some other points bad, 
then quoad these, the moral law is not his maxim. But since 
that law is one and universal, and as it commands in one act of 
life, so in all, then the maxim referring to it would be at once 
universal and particular, which is a contradiction. 


That one or other of these sentiments belongs to man at his 
birth by nature, does not mean to say that the man who holds 
such sentiments is not their author, but simply that he has not 
at any time acquired them ; i. e. that his good or evil must be 


placed as a ground in him prior to all experimental exercise of 
his freedom, and hence comes in this way to be represented 
as already co-existent with him at his birth, not as if his birth 
were the cause of it. 


What then are we to say of man ? Is he by nature good 
or evil ? 

§ 10. 

The originary predispositions of our nature which immediate- 
ly refer to will and the determinableness of choice, are these. 

(1.) The substratum of man's animality as a living being. 

(2.) The substratum of his humanity as a living and also 
intelligent being. 

(3.) The substratum of his personality as an intelligent and 
accountable being. 

§ 11 and 12. 
Man's animality may be all fitly comprehended under the title 
of mechanical, instinctive self-love. There are three branches 
of it ; the love of life, of sex, and of society. On these appetites 
may be ingrafted every virtue, as also every vice. These last, 
when in extreme, beget the beastly vices, gluttony, licentious- 
ness, and lawless violence. 

§ 13 and 14. 

The predisposition for humanity may be classed under the 
head of rational, comparative self-love ; for which theoretic rea- 
son is required. On it is grafted the civilized vices of envy, in- 
gratitude, and malice, which are also called devilish vices. 

§ 15. 

Man's predisposition for personality, is his susceptibility for 
that reverence toward the moral law, which (reverence) is suf- 
ficient to constitute the law the determinator of his free re- 
solves (susceptibility for reverence toward the law is the 


moral sense). This reverence can only by force of freedom 
become the determinator of an actual volition ; but the ability 
to make it such requires a substratum in humanity, whereupon 
nothing evil can be grafted. Now this power, inseparable from 
pure practical reason, is the immediate substratum of human 
nature for morality. 

These three predispositions are all originary, as they belong 
to the possibility of the nature of man. They are not only good, 
so far as they are in nowise contrary to the moral law ; but 
they are even substrata towards excellence ; i. e. they advance 
the observance and execution of the law. 

§ 17. 

By evil is understood the irrationality, not of an appetite, but 
of a free resolve ; and to such evil there is no predisposition in 
human nature at all conceivable. But the ground of the possi- 
bility of evil must be figured as originating from man's own free- 
dom, and entailed by him upon himself; and such ground must 
of necessity be cogitated for the behoof of an ethical judgment. 

This adopted and self-entailed ground of the possibility of 
evil consists in an act of freedom, which is itself already evil, 
which act is the ground of merely evil acts of freedom. It is a 
(" Hang") proneness to evil, somewhat noway belonging to the 
possibility of a man, but which, as self-entailed by all men on 
themselves, now belongs to his actuality, and is so far natural, 
though not original ; upon which account mankind comes to be 
regarded as by nature evil. 


Since now the inward character of the ethically good or evil 
consists in the will's maxims, i. e. in the general rules which a 
person prescribes and appoints by freedom to himself, and by 
which rules he makes either the law, or an emotion of pleasure 


or pain apart from the law, the determinator of his free resolve : 
it results that the adventitious, self-entailed ground of the pos- 
sibility of evil, i. e. that the {Hang) bias to evil consists in an 
evil maxim, which is the groundwork of all other evil maxims, 
and may be cogitated as a universal evil maxim, under which 
the particular evil maxims are subsumed. 

This universal maxim, by adopting which the (" Hang") bias 
to evil is entailed, consists in the free and general resolve occa- 
sionally to swerve from the moral law ; and by force of such 
maxim, the {Hang) bias to evil precedes every act pointing to a 
given object of choice, as that evil act whereby man has corrupt- 
ed his will, and is himself become evil. As the root of all other 
evil in man, this {Hang) bias to evil, residing in the universal 
evil maxim, is called the radical evil of human nature. 

There may be three different grades of this proneness to evil : 
(1.) Frailty in not adhering to good maxims once for all deter- 
mined on ; (2.) Impurity, or the mixing up evil maxims with 
the good ones ; (3.) Vitiosity, the (Hang) proneness to act 
upon simply evil maxims, which may farther, as the (Hang) 
bias to postpone the moral springs to the immoral, be called 
corruption, and, as a {Hang) bias to invert the ethical order of 
the springs of will, may be called the perversity or perverted- 
NE5S of the human heart. 

' The common ground whence all these immoral acts spring 
cannot, as is usually done, be placed in the sensory and its ap- 
petites and wants ; for they have no immediate tendency to 
evil — nay, they afford even opportunity to good, and show forth 
the moral sentiments in their full strength. The ground of the 
{Hang) Bias to evil cannot therefore be found in man's sensi- 
tive nature ; and how varied soever it may be by climate, consti- 
tution, &c. the sensory contains too little to yield such a result. 



The ground of this evil cannot any more be sought in a cor- 
ruptedness of moral legislative reason, as if reason had abrogat- 
ed and defaced the authority of the law, and rebelled against 
the obligation founded on it ; for that is too much, and perhaps 
impossible. To suppose a revolted and absolutely wicked will 
is therefore too much, and goes beyond the bias {Hang) to evil, 
and would characterize man as devilish. 

Moral evil cannot then be deduced either from the sensory, 
or from reason ; it can, however, be evolved from freedom, and 
the law regulating the causality of the will, by the following in- 
vestigation a priori. 

§ 23 and 26. 
By virtue of the predisposition to good, the moral law forces 
itself irresistibly on the will ; and were no other springs of choice 
astir in the mind, man would unhesitatingly adopt it into his su- 
preme maxim of conduct, and so act. According to the con- 
stitution of his sensory, pleasure and pain are no less necessary ; 
and were there no counter-springs, he would, according to the 
principle of self-love, follow his natural instincts. Were, then, 
either spring alone, mankind would adopt and make it the 
singly-suflficient determinator of his will, and so be in the one 
case quite good, in the other quite evil. § 26. But since in 
the human mind both springs are naturally united, and man 
adopts both into his maxim, he would, if the moral good de- 
pended solely on the diflFerence of the two springs, be at once 
both good and evil, which, however, cannot be cogitated without 
a contradiction. 

§ 27. 

The moral quality of the will depends, therefore, not on the 

difference of the springs man has adopted into his maxims, but 

in the subordination which his freedom has introduced among 

them ;^for since they cannot subsist along-side of, i. e. co-ordi- 


nated to one another, freedom states the one as the condition 
of the other, the one as means to the other, which is end. 

Mankind is upon this account only evil, in so far as he per- 
verts the ethic order of his springs of choice. 

This subordination of the moral law to the principles of self- 
love, is the original sin of humanity, from which all other evil 
actions are to be derived. 

§ 30. 
This insubordination makes itself manifest, in so far as man- 
kind counts bare legality for morality, and conversely immorali- 
ty for a mere illegality, and is prone to take the absence of vice 
for virtue, and its presence for a venial fault. This insincerity 
in deceiving one's self, extends itself next so as to deceive others, 
and if not wickedness, is at least worthlessness. 

The actual existence of a (" Hang") Bias adopted by freedom 
to invert the order of the springs of action, can only be elicited 
by conscience's impartial judgment of itself. But this judgment 
is corroborated by a host of examples, which history and ob- 
servation throw into our hands. 

§ 32 and 33. 
Examples. North American Indians. Wars in civilized so- 

• Upon this peculiar bia? of the will is founded an obligation lui generis, 
i. e. one owed by the whole human race to itself, viz. to enter into an 
Ethical Society, called church, where all mankind are rallied round the 
standard of the law for the purpose of upholding, supporting, and advan- 
cing the ethical end and interests of their whole species. 

It is owing to this aberration of the will from the law that the state of 
nature, whether juridical or ethical, is a state of war, and that each 



The radical evil rooted in human nature has consequently, as 
an act of freedom, no origin in time ; neither can it be deduced 
from any cause different from freedom ; it is therefore impene- 


The incomprehensible of the origin of evil is thus expressed 
by the Scripture, where it represents evil as already resident in 

man, before entering into Society^ invades either the outwakd FaEEDOM 
of his neighbour, i. e. his rights of property, or overturns his ikwahd 
FREEDOM, i. e. his morality. It is" merely requisite for mankind to come 
together to awaken mutually in one another's breasts such vices as envy, 
covetousness, or hate ; for even while they may not as yet seduce one 
another into crime, still the bare presence of another individual is of it- 
self sufficient to bring out the ethical antagonism of both their wills. The 
dictate of reason, therefore, is to quit the state of nature and combine in 
society ; and as mankind quitted the juridical state of nature and enter- 
ed into civil society to secure their personal freedom and rights, so rea- 
son in like manner calls upon them to forsake their natural estate of mu- 
tual ethical hostility, and to enter into an universal Ethical Society in or- 
der to protect the inward freedom of the race. As the civil common- 
wEALTH is called a state, so the ethic commonwealth bears a pecu- 
liar name, and is called church. 

But the laws of the Ecclesiastical Society cannot, from the very idea of 
it, be OUTWARD, i. e. forensic. The legislation combining all mankind 
in an ethical society can be inward only, i. e. moral ; and hence no one 
except a moral lawgiver can be regarded as at the head of such ethical 
association, combining the whole family of man under one common mo- 
ral law. 

The institution of a church is upon these grounds a work to be ex- 
pected not so much from man, as rather to be undertaken by God himself; 
and, in Kant's opinion, this is the only conceivable case where reason can 
allow us to hold that there is room to figure to ourselves the Ethical Le- 
gislator granting us his divine aid, namely, to set a church a going, 
in order thereby to advance the ethical ends and interests of us mankind 
who are subjects in his ethical realm. Consequently it is a duty of na- 
tural RELIGION, not alone of revealed, to become a member of the 
church, ». e. of the universal ethical society, and that too whether we be- 
lieve the church to be a positive divine institution|or_the contrary. (Tr.) 


a spirit of a lofty and excelse nature, and man as only become 
evil by being seduced into it, and so not out and out corrupted, 
but as still capable of amendment, and where there is yet a hope 
of a return to that good from which he has swerved. 


How it is possible, that a man, naturally and radically bad, 
should become good, is incomprehensible. For how can an evil 
tree bring forth good fruit ? But since, by the foregoing inves- 
tigation, a good tree has brought forth evil fruit, the lapse from 
good into evil is not one whit more comprehensible than the re- 
turn from evil toward good ; and since, notwithstanding our lapse, 
the law ordains unremittingly that we become better men, the 
possibility of it cannot be denied, even though our own endea- 
vour were insufficient, and should only make us susceptible of a 
higher aid. 

The restoration of the originary substratum toward good in 
its power, is not the re-acquisition of a lost ethic spring, but is 
only the reviving of reverence in its purity as the sufficient spring 
of the determination of choice. 

This restoration to purity can only be represented as a retro- 
version of the perverted cast of thinking, i. e. of a change of 
character, by a revolving of the sentiments, demanding as it were 
a new birth or creation of the whole inner man. This revolv- 
ing of the cast of thinking turns about the last ground of adopt- 
ing maxims, by force of one single unalterable determination, 
which contains, so far as it is inflexible, the ground of a perpe- 
tual reform. 

§ 45 and 46. 
This change of character, and the amelioration of conduct 
springing from it, cannot be regarded, without a contradiction, as 
a gift of the Deity, but only as an educt from our own freedom ; 


since, if otherwise, it could not be imputed to us ; and such change 
not being ours, would leave us neither morally better nor worse. 


Against this commandment of self-amelioration, sluggish and 
lazy reason offers all sorts of impure religious ideas in defence. 
By help of such, a man flatters himself God will make him happy, 
and dispense with his moral amendment; or, otherwise, he ima- 
gines God will forthwith make him better, quite apart from his 
own exertions, provided that he only pray for it ; as if, in the 
eye of an all-seeing person, praying amounted to any thing more 
than wishing ; and if a wish were enough, who is there who 
would not have a good character ? 

According to the spirit of genuine moral religion, which of 
all the public ones that have appeared, Christianity alone is, 
this is the principle, " that every one must do as much as he can 
to render himself a better man ;" and it is only by not burying his 
talent, or hiding it in a napkin, that he may hope that what he 
cannot do himself will be supplied from above. Nor is it at all 
requisite that any man should know wherein this help consists ; 
nay, it is perhaps inevitable, that even were the mode in which 
it is granted revealed at some time or other, different men should 
not at some other time entertain different notions with the 
greatest sincerity about the matter, so that this farther prin- 
ciple would come to apply : " It is not essential, and so not ne- 
cessary, for any one to know what God does or ha^ already done 
for his salvation, but it is by all means necessary for him to know 
what he himself has to do, in order to render himself wortJiy of such 

2 a 



Chapter II. 



Opposed to the radical evil stands holiness, i. e. the ethical 
perfection of humanity, which is possible for every man by the 
originary predispositions of his personality, and which is by the 
moral law made necessary. If personified, the one is the principle 
of evil ; the other stands contradistinguished to it, in the capa- 
city of the principle of good. 


This good principle is an Ideal, in so far as by its means hu- 
manity is represented, not as it is, but as it ought to be ; i. e. 
where mankind is figured as making the law his determining 
spring of conduct, and as adhering to this universal mobile in all 
his particular determinations. 


This Idfeal is altogether sui generis, and is unique in its kind, 
having, quoad the wiW, practically, objective reality ; i. e. it is ne- 
cessary by the moral law, and is commanded to every man to 
realise it in his own person, a matter possible by a constant ap- 
proximation towards it for ever {objectively), and subjectively by 
his adopting the moral law into his supreme and most universal 
maxim, so taking upon him the sentiments of that Ideal. 


Viewed in its relation to the Godhead when personified, this 
practically necessary Ideal of the holiness of finite Intelligents 
must be cogitated according to these following determinations. 

a. In regard of its origin, as extant in God from everlasting ; 
in so far therefore no created thing, but begotten and emanating 
from the essential character of the Godhead, which can only be 
figured as infinite morality — the only-begotten son of God. 



b. In reference to the world as the end and aim or creation, 
he must be regarded consequently as the Divine Word, the 
Fiat tchereby all things are, and loithout which nothing was made 
that is made, — the brightness of his Father's glory, — in him God 
loved the world. 


c. In reference to human nature, it is somewhat whereof man 
is not the author, but which has taken up its abode in man, al- 
though mankind cannot explain how human nature should be 
susceptible of it ; therefore, as somewhat which has descended 
from heaven to earth, and taken upon it human nature, tJie Word 
became flesh, and dwelt among us. Again, since holiness is alone 
the character of the Godhead, the practical necessity of this 
holiness in man, is cogitated as the descent of Deity to man in 
a state of humiliation of the Son of God, uniting itself to hu- 
manity, whereby also man is elevated to the grade of divinity. 

In this practically necessary Ideal of holiness, we learn far- 
ther the only thing possible and requisite for us to know concern- 
ing the Godhead, viz. the will of God, by fulfilling which we alone 
learn how to love God worthily ; thus alone do we reach the Father 
through the Son. No one has seen God at any time ; the only- 
begotten, from the bosom of the FaiJter, he hath revealed him. 

The actual adopting of the sentiments of this Ideal is the only 
condition, but also the'certain means, of becoming acceptable to 
God. To such as received him, gave he power to become tlie chil- 
dren of God. 

This Ideal, as the archetype of pattern for our imitation, can. 
only be represented under the figure of a man, who, in respect 
of the Physique of his nature, is as nearly related to mankind, as, 
in respect of the Ethique, to the Deity. 


§ 58. 

The conviction that this Ideal has objective reality, and is 
consequently to be met with in human nature, is the belief that 
the Son of God took upon him our nature. And the conviction 
that to adopt sentiments adequate and conform to this ideal is 
practically necessary, is the alone justifying and saving faith in 
the Son of God. 

Whoso holds this practical faith in the Son of God, and is 
conscious within himself of such moral sentiments as enable him 
justly to hold that he would under any similar temptations ad- 
here unchangeably to the archetype of humanity, he and he alone 
is entitled to deem himself an object not unworthy of the di- 
vine favour. 

A perfect man would unquestionably, by virtue of his prac- 
tical faith, be quite upright and acceptable to God ; but how 
can such practical belief justify us, who continue all our lives 
imperfect ? how can a righteousness, which ought to consist in 
a life exactly commensurate and conformed to this practical 
belief, be regarded as ours ? There are three obstacles which 
seem to hinder this from being possible. 

The first difficulty impeding the reality of this faith, which 
justifies a man only by an unremitted observance of the law, 
seems to lie here — the law ordains holiness. Be ye holy, as 
your Father which is in heaven is holy. But we men are only 
always on the march from a defective state of good to a better, 
even after we adopt the law into our supreme and most univer- 
sal maxim, i. e. adopt the sentiments of that practically neces- 
sary ideal. But how should it be possible that a holy lawgiver 
can take such good sentiment in the room of an imperfect ser- 
vice ? 


To clear up this difficulty, we'must bethink ourselves that the 
deed remains at all times faulty, since we as men are inevitably 
fettered to the conditions of time, which imports a constant 
progression from defective goodness to higher and better stages ; 
so that our good deeds made exhibitive as phenomena, must at 
all times be regarded as disconform to a holy law. The Search- 
er of the Heart, however, tests the sentiment, which is super- 
sensible, and the source and fountain of the deed ; which senti- 
ment, containing the ground of a constant progression onwards 
for ever, is estimated in the pure intellectual intuition of a 
Searcher of the Heart as an entire whole, and so as somewhat 

The practical faith in the Son of God begets in this way the 
hope that we, by adopting his holy sentiment, may, notwith- 
standing the inevitable defectiveness of all actions in time, be 
regarded as holy, on account of the advancement for ever to- 
ward it effectuated by that sentiment. 

§ 64. 
The second difficulty attaching to this reality of justifying 
and saving faith is presented by the following question, how 
can any man become assured of the permanency of a sentiment 
to advance constantly in good ? 

The bare consciousness of a present pure sentiment is noway 
sufficient to furnish a confident conviction of our persisting in 
good ; nay, this might on the contrary amount to a perilous self- 
confidence, when not supported by the experience of a really 
amended life since the epoch of that supposed revolution of 
character. This observed experience is what first begets a 
well-founded and rational hope that our character is truly al- 
tered, and warrants an expectation that the grace of God may 
supply what may be still wanting to consolidate our ethical re- 
solution to advance. 


§ 66. 

The third and most serious difficulty in the way of this self- 
justification is, lastly, this: Although the adopted holy sentiment, 
and change of character consequent thereon, be never so per- 
manent, still mankind began from evil, and this past guilt he 
never can abolish ; for, to make no more new debts after he 
has repented, is no paying or discharging of his old ones. Nei- 
ther can he perform any thing supererogatory, for it is always 
his duty to execute all the good possibly in his power. Lastly, 
this guiltiness cannot be taken away by any other person, so^ar 
as we can see; for it is an all-personal and most untransfer- 
able obligation, viz. a debt of sin, and obligation to punishment ; 
and this only the blameworthy himself can undergo. No In- 
nocent, how magnanimous soever, can bear it for the guilty. 

The solution of this difficulty depends upon the following : 
Supreme justice must be satisfied, evil must be punished. But 
this punishment follows of its own accord upon the change of 
sentiment ; which one act is exit from evil and entrance into 
good, self-crucifixion of the old and putting on of the new man. 
This exit out of evil is then (regarded as the death of the old 
man, and crucifying of the flesh) of itself a sacrifice, and entrance 
upon a long train of sufferings in life, which the amended encoun- 
ters merely for the sake of that moral good ; which sufferings 
and sorrow properly belonged to the old man, the new man being 
ethically another ; and since the good sentiment of the peni- 
tent proves its sincerity by his willingly undertaking all the suf- 
fering and sorrow which arise to the old man from the persever- 
ance of the new man in good, mankind may in this way hope 
that the adopting of this holy sentiment may satisfy divine jus- 
tice for the guilt incurred prior to this self-devotement to the 
ideal of moral excellence. 

§ 68. 
Agreeably, then, to this deduction of the idea of a justifica- 


tion of the once guilty, but now transmuted to sentiments accep- 
table in the sight of God, we conclude that the sentiment 
involved in the ideal of an ethically perfect man (§ 56) is the 
condition of our sanctification, growth in good, and justification ; 
and that the adopting such sentiment as one's own, begins, es- 
tablishes, and effects a perpetual progression for ever in amelio- 
ration. Hence we say (58) that by the Son of God we are sanc- 
tified, forgiven, and justified, and He by his perfect holiness 
comes in the room of our defective deed (63). Farther (65), 
He becomes surety to us for aid requisite to permanent endur- 
ance, and (67) redeems us from the guilt of sin. 

This deduction exhibits a notion of redemption and of vica- 
rious substitution, in which notion the ethically-necessary libe- 
ration from self-entailed guilt — i, c. expurgation — is really cogi- 
tated, and cogitated in such a manner as can alone be brought 
into harmony with an ethical cast of thought, viz. as a grace or 
favour, to be hoped for singly when respect is had to a sincere 
and solemn change effectuated by freedom ; the want of which 
free change of heart no expiation can supply, nor yet invocations 
nor hosannahs of the vicarious Ideal of Holiness ; nor, if such 
change is there, can these add anywhat to its validity. 

This deduction affords, first, consolation ; second, rigid self- 
investigation ; third, guards against slumbering security. 


The sacred volume gives an account of the combat betwixt 
the good and the evil principle under the form of a history; 
it represents two principles contrary and opposed to one ano- 
ther, as heaven from hell, as persons without and outside of 
man, who not only prove their strength against one another, 
but also endeavour to make good their claims, as if legally be- 
fore a Supreme Judge. 


Agreeably to the spirit of this historic narrative, man was 
originally gifted with the lordship and dominion of all the 
goods of the earth ; but of this he was only to hold the fee, and 
to do homage to his liege Lord and Creator, who retained the su- 
periority of the property. Immediately there appears an Evil 
Being, who by a lapse lost all his estates in heaven, and seeks 
now to re-acquire others on earth. 

But because this Evil Person is a spirit of the higher order, 
earthly and terrestrial objects yield him no delight. He seeks a 
dominion over the minds and wills, by making the progenitors 
of mankind swerve from their Lord, and subservient to him ; by 
all which he succeeds in being recognized as the Superior of 
the goods of the earth, and as the Prince of this World. Thus, 
in despite of the Good Principle, a kingdom of evil was erected, 
to which all mankind descending from Adam have enthralled 
themselves, by voluntarily perverting the order of their springs 
of Action. 

The Good Principle defended itself against the alleged title 
of the Evil Principle to rule over mankind, by erecting the 
Jewish Theocracy, which was set apart for the public and sole 
veneration of his name. But because the minds of the subjects 
in this kingdom were directed to observances and ceremonies, 
and not to the internal morality of their sentiments, this insti- 
tution did not much encroach upon the reign of darkness. 

At a time when the Jewish people were ready to revolt, all 
at once there appeared some one, whose Wisdom was as it had 
come down from heaven, and who announced himself, as to his 
doctrine and example, both as a true and real man, and as a 
Divine Ambassador, of such extraction as by his originary in- 
nocence not to be included in the Covenant which all the rest 


of mankind, by their representative (Adam), had entered into 
with the Evil Principle, and in whom, therefore, the Prince of 
this World had nothing. 


The Prince finding the security of his government endanger- 
ed, offered him the whole world in fee if he would do homage 
to hiijn for it ; and as this offer did not succeed, he withdrew 
from this stranger while on earth all that could make life agree- 
able ; nay, he excited persecution against him, calumniated the 
purity of his intentions, and followed him even to death, yet 
without being able, by such violent invasion, to shake his sted- 
fastness or generosity, either in doctrine or example. 

§77. ■ ■ 

His death, the extreme grade of human suffering, was the fi- 
nished exhibition of the Good Principle, i. e. of the Archetype 
of Humanity, in its entire moral perfection, as a pattern to be 
copied- by every one, and which was then, nay, may be at all 
times, of the greatest influence, by showing forth, in the most 
glaring contrast, the freedom of the Children of Heaven, and 
the bondage of a mere Son of Earth, " He came unto his own, 
and his own received him not ; but to such as received him, he 
gave power to be called the children of God ;" i. e. He by his 
example threw open the gate of freedom to every one who chose 
to die, like him, to every thing which kept them chained to this 
earthly life, disadvantageously to their morality, and gathers 
from among men under his authority, a peculiar people, zealous 
of good works, leaving the meanwhile those who prefer the ser- 
vitude of immorality to their chains. 

When this popular narrative is divested of its veil, we imme- 
diately observe that the spirit and genius of it is valid and of 
import at all times, and for the whole world. This Spirit is 




Tliat there is absolutely no salvation for mankind but in the 
adopting in their inmost sentiments of genuine moral princi- 
ples ; that their adoption is withstood, not by the sensory, but 
by a self-demerited perversity, whereby man has deranged his 
springs of action, and submitted himself a slave to the Evi 
Principle ; a perversity to be met with in all men, and capable 
of being overcome and counterbalanced by nowhat except by 
the idea of the Ethic-good in its entire purity — going hand in 
hand with the conscious conviction that such ideal really be- 
longs to the internal predisposition of our humanity (i. e. by the 
practical faith in the Son of God, 58). 

By the effect which this faith (idea of moral excellence), 
when kept clear of all foreign admixture, gradually takes upon 
the mind, the person becomes assured that the dreaded powers 
of evil have no share in him, and that the gates of hell shall not 
ultimately prevail against him ; an assurance only to be sought 
for in the criterion of a self-active, well-regulated life. Lastly, an 
endeavour such as the present to find in the Scripture a sense 
quite in harmony with the most sacrosanct notices of reason, is 
to be looked on not only as allowed, but as a very duty ; and we 
may remind ourselves of the saying of Jesus to his disciples re- 
lative to some one who took his own mode of going to work, but 
which eventually issued in the same result: " Forbid him not : 
for he who is not against us, is for us." 


PrinteJ by Thomas Allan & Company, 
265 High Street 



Page 35, line 22, for vihen, read ■winch. 

— 44, — 15, for his, read thit- 

— 83, — 19, at the end of the line, after </ta/, insert t<. 

— 137, — 15, for may he used as an end, read at a mean. 

— 138, — 4, for emitted an, read eschewed a. 

— 160, — 3, for that tee quit the, read quit not the. 

— 168, — 4, for in, read on. 

— 188, — \, ior oUigation is announced, is the, re&d olligation is, an- 

nounced the. 

— 215, — 24, dele be. 

— 272, fourth line from bottom, dele rce. 







NOV - B 1988